Prevalence and work-relatedness of carpal tunnel syndrome in the working population, United States, 2010 National Health Interview Survey

Am J Ind Med. 2013 Jun;56(6):615-24. doi: 10.1002/ajim.22048. Epub 2012 Apr 11.


Background: Patterns of prevalence and work-relatedness of carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) among workers offer clues about risk factors and targets for prevention.

Methods: Data from an occupational health supplement to the 2010 National Health Interview Survey were used to estimate the prevalence of self-reported clinician-diagnosed CTS overall and by demographic characteristics. The proportion of these cases self-reported to have been attributed to work by clinicians was also examined overall and by demographic characteristics. In addition, the distribution of industry and occupation (I&O) categories to which work-related cases of CTS were attributed was compared to the distribution of I&O categories of employment among current/recent workers.

Results: Data were available for 27,157 adults, including 17,524 current/recent workers. The overall lifetime prevalence of clinician-diagnosed CTS among current/recent workers was 6.7%. The 12-month prevalence was 3.1%, representing approximately 4.8 million workers with current CTS; 67.1% of these cases were attributed to work by clinicians, with overrepresentation of certain I&O categories.

Conclusions: CTS affected almost 5 million U.S. workers in 2010, with prevalence varying by demographic characteristics and I&O.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome / epidemiology*
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome / etiology
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome / physiopathology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, U.S.
  • Occupational Diseases / diagnosis
  • Occupational Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Occupational Health*
  • Occupations*
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Assessment
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sex Distribution
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States / epidemiology