Chronic cold hands are a symptom of carpal tunnel syndrome. They can be caused by restricted blood circulation when the surrounding veins or arteries are damaged or inflamed. It usually comes from pinched nerves, because blood circulation is restricted. That generally means no matter what the weather is like, hands will stay cold.

What Is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the tendons, bones and other soft tissues of the hand and wrist are damaged or inflamed and cause pressure in the carpal tunnel. The carpal tunnel is a narrow passageway on the palm side of your wrist.

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome can be caused by medical conditions such as: 
  • Diabetes
  • Fluid retention (usually from menopause or pregnancy)
  • Fractures
  • High blood pressure
  • Obesity
  • Rheumatoid arthritis 
  • Thyroid disease
  • Wrist trauma

Additionally, repetitive motions can also trigger this like typing. It can also come about when hands are lower than the wrist. 

It’s important to see a medical professional if any symptoms materialize. Especially if there’s an active suspicion of carpal tunnel syndrome. Symptoms can last for quite some time when they’re not addressed, or even worsen. They can also disappear for a time only to resurface later on. Some of the top ones include:

  • Burning and pain up the arm
  • Hand muscles weakening
  • Nightly wrist pain that interrupts sleep
  • Pain, tingling and numbness in the hand’s first three fingers and thumb

Carpal tunnel syndrome treatment gets easier the earlier a diagnosis is made. This usually happens through a combination of medical history, a physical exam and nerve conduction studies. The physical exam will involve a specific evaluation of the hand, wrist, neck and shoulder.

How Is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Treated?

Treatments can range from yoga and surgery to topical steroid injections and physical therapy, but many hand and wrist surgeons order an X-ray or MRI to determine if any abnormalities are present, so that the symptoms can be properly identified before any further testing is ordered. Surgery may be deemed necessary for full-on relief, depending on certain test results.

Here are some other means of handling carpal tunnel syndrome:

  • Alternating hands used for work.
  • Breaks that last for 10 to 15 minutes per hour, stretching hands.
  • Changes in terms of tools, a workstation setup or a desk.
  • Paying close attention to posture.
  • Using just enough force.

Who Are At Risk?

Females are three times more likely to have carpal tunnel syndrome than males. Carpal tunnel syndrome is most commonly diagnosed around the 30-year-old to 60-year-old age range. There are also a number of lifestyle factors that can contribute to a higher carpal tunnel syndrome risk:

  • High BMI (body mass index)
  • High salt intake
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Smoking

It’s also more likely in people whose professions involve assembly line work, construction work, keyboarding occupations and manufacturing.


Carpal tunnel syndrome is an issue involving pinched nerves and quite a bit of pain. It can be caused by medical conditions or repetitive motions. A physical exam can confirm a diagnosis, after which moving forward with treatment can happen.

Searching for a hand specialist for help with chronic cold hands? Contact North Florida Hand and Wrist today! We are led by the expertly-trained hand and wrist surgeons Dr. Richard D. Curtis and Dr. Jose Baez.