What is it?

The carpal tunnel is located in the inner aspect of the wrist. It is an anatomical structure through which nerves and tendons of the palm pass, including the median nerve responsible for sensation and movement in the palm. Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused due to pressure on the median nerve. This pressure is created when there is narrowing of the carpal tunnel, that can result from health problems such as diabetes, pregnancy, over usage of the wrist or simply a prone wrist anatomy.

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Additional names

This group contains additional names:
- Median nerve entrapment

Signs & symptoms

Pressure on the median nerve causes a tingling, numbness or electric shock sensations (called paresthesia) in the thumb, index and middle fingers. This sensation is transient at first, but may get constant over time. Additional symptoms are pain in the palm and forearm (that may radiate to the shoulder), atrophy of the thumb muscles (known as thenar wasting) and weakness of the palm, manifests as difficulty grasping things.

Diagnosis

Diagnosis of carpal tunnel syndrome is based on the person’s symptoms and physical examination. Additional tests may be used:
- EMG test (Electromyography) - this test evaluate the electrical activity produced by the muscles.
- Nerve conduction studies - this test measures how fast an electrical impulse moves through a nerve.

Treatment

Treatment options include:
- Wrist splinters – keeping the hand in a neutral, pain free position (especially at night)
- physical or occupational therapy
- Medications - pain medication and medications that act to reduce inflammation (such as steroids).
- surgery - surgery is reserved for cases where there is significant damage to the median nerve and other treatment were not sufficient to relieve symptoms

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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