Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS)

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a hand and arm compression condition that causes tingling, numbness and other symptoms. It is caused by a pinched nerve in the wrist and can interfere with a person’s ability to use the wrist and hand. Carpal tunnel syndrome is a progressive condition that can worsen without the proper care.

The carpal tunnel is a passageway in the wrist that runs from the wrist to the hand. The median nerve is located within the carpal tunnel and provides sensation to the thumb, index finger, middle finger and the thumb side of the ring finger. The carpal tunnel also houses the tendons that control the bending of the fingers. When the median nerve is compressed, carpal tunnel syndrome occurs. This compression can be caused by any of the structures around the nerve including the bones and soft tissues. In many cases, no singular cause can be identified.

Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome include tingling or numbness, and weakness in the hand with a tendency to drop objects. A variety of factors can increase a person’s risk for carpal tunnel syndrome. Women are more likely to develop carpal tunnel syndrome than men. The exact reason is unknown; however, this may be due to the fact that the size of carpal tunnel area is relatively smaller in women than in men. The condition may also be caused by a fracture or dislocation of the wrist, or it may be linked to conditions such as diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis. It is possible to also be triggered by conditions that cause the body to retain fluids, including pregnancy. Repetitive motions of the hand and fingers may also be a cause; however, the evidence is inconclusive at this time.

Treatment options include wrist splinting, anti-inflammatory medication, and corticosteroids. If symptoms persist after nonsurgical options, endoscopic or open surgery may be required