Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal Tunnel Surgery at a Glance

Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a condition brought on by increased pressure on the median nerve at the wrist. In effect, it is a pinched nerve at the wrist. Symptoms may include numbness, tingling, and pain in the arm, hand, and fingers.

There is a space in the wrist called the carpal tunnel where the median nerve and nine tendons pass from the forearm into the hand. Carpal tunnel syndrome happens when pressure builds up from swelling in this tunnel and puts pressure on the nerve. When the pressure from the swelling becomes great enough to disturb the way the nerve works, numbness, tingling, and pain may be felt in the hand and fingers.

Risk factors

Several risk factors increase the incidence of carpal tunnel syndrome. Some of these are:

  • Pregnancy
  • Advancing age
  • Female gender
  • Specific occupations like sewing, driving, painting or playing some musical instruments
  • Hand-related repetitive motions
  • Strong family history
  • Specific medical disorders like arthritis, obesity, diabetes and hypothyroidism
  • Trauma
  • Anatomic predisposition in the wrist and hand due to shape and size
  • Infectious diseases
  • Substance abuse

 

Symptoms

Common symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome include:

  • Numbness or tingling in hand and fingers, especially the thumb, index and middle fingers
  • Pain, which may move up the wrist, to the elbow and shoulder
  • A sense of weakness in the hands and a tendency to drop objects
  • Muscle wasting, especially under the thumb


Initially, the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome subside if you move your fingers or change your work. Over time, the symptoms tend to worsen and may become constant. Symptoms usually appear at night and might awaken you from sleep.

Continue reading about treatments for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome >>