Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is the most common nerve entrapment diagnosis of the upper extremity. The condition is caused by compression of the median nerve as it travels through the palm side of the wrist. The most common complaint associated with carpal tunnel syndrome is numbness and tingling of the first three and a half fingers, but individuals affected by CTS may also complain of weakness in the hand, especially with gripping activities involving the thumb. CTS is typically caused by inflammation of one or several of the structures forming the carpal tunnel which then compresses the median nerve.
CTS is three times more likely to affect women than men, likely because the carpal tunnel is typically smaller in females. Women who are pregnant are also at a higher risk for developing CTS due to the tendency for peripheral swelling. CTS can also be caused by repetitive motions of the hand or wrist and can also be seen with wrist fractures.
CTS typically does not require surgical intervention and is most often addressed through activity modification. As the symptoms of CTS can be caused by repetitive gripping and typing, your employer may work with you to improve your work set-up to reduce stress and irritation to your wrists. Your doctor may also refer you to physical or occupational therapy to learn stretching and strengthening exercises to improve your symptoms. Less frequently, some individuals may require a cortisone injection or in rare cases surgery to release the carpal tunnel.
If you have questions or are suffering from symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome, please feel free to contact us to set up a free consultation or a full evaluation!
Disclaimer: If you continue to experience unbearable, reoccurring pain, be sure to schedule an appointment with your physician or join our physical therapy family and allow us to help you regain function.
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