Carpal tunnel syndrome and Raynaud's phenomenon: a narrative review

Occup Med (Lond). 2022 Apr 19;72(3):170-176. doi: 10.1093/occmed/kqab158.


Background: Raynaud's phenomenon (RP) is a recognized symptom associated with carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) and is also the vascular manifestation of hand arm vibration syndrome (HAVS). The symptoms of HAVS and CTS are such that there is a significant possibility of misdiagnosis and an incorrect attribution of vascular and sensory symptoms. An understanding of the relationship between RP and CTS is essential when undertaking health surveillance of vibration-exposed workers presenting with combined vascular and sensory symptoms.

Aims: To clarify the relationship between CTS and Raynaud's phenomenon.

Methods: A systematic search was undertaken of studies that reviewed links between CTS and Raynaud's phenomenon (RP).

Results: A total of 4170 papers were identified, with 21 articles that were then reviewed in full, including 1 meta-analysis of 8 studies. Eighteen papers, not included in the meta-analysis, were found including 3 case control studies, 9 case reports, 2 prospective studies and 4 retrospective reviews. Papers were reviewed on the basis of the diagnostic criteria used for CTS and RP. Our review of the literature confirms a substantial body of evidence of a relationship between RP and CTS.

Conclusions: It is recommended that assessment of vibration exposed individuals who report concurrent RP and separate sensory symptoms suggestive of, or compatible with CTS, should formally exclude CTS before attributing symptoms to HAVS.

Keywords: Raynaud’s; carpal tunnel syndrome; hand arm vibration; vibration white finger.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome* / diagnosis
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome* / etiology
  • Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome* / complications
  • Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome* / diagnosis
  • Humans
  • Prospective Studies
  • Raynaud Disease* / diagnosis
  • Raynaud Disease* / etiology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Vascular Diseases*
  • Vibration / adverse effects