Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is the compression of the median nerve at the wrist, which may result in numbness, tingling, weakness, or muscle atrophy in the hand and fingers. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is common in people who perform repetitive motions of the hand and wrist, such as typing. When the wrist is poorly positioned, there isn’t enough space for the median nerve to travel to the hand.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is caused by pressure exerted on the median nerve at the point where it passes through the wrist. The median nerve supplies sensation to the thumb-side of the ring finger. It also supplies movement to part of the hand. The nerve enters the hand between the wrist bones (called the carpal bones) and the tough membrane that holds the bones together (the transverse carpal ligament). This space is called the carpal tunnel. Since the passageway is rigid, any swelling in this area can cause compression of the nerve (this is also called entrapment of the nerve).
Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Weakness in one or both hands
- Numbness or tingling in the thumb and next two or three fingers of one or both hands
- Numbness or tingling of the palm of the hand
- Wrist or hand pain in one or both hands
- Pain extending to the elbow
- Impaired fine finger movements (coordination) in one of both hands
- Weak grip or difficulty carrying bags (a common complaint)
- Atrophy of the muscular bulge under the thumb