Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Also known as: wrist/hand pain

What is carpal tunnel syndrome?

The median nerve is a mixed (motor and sensory) nerve of the upper extremity. If it becomes compressed as it travels through the wrist, the result can be carpal tunnel syndrome, which causes a number of symptoms in hand.

What causes carpal tunnel syndrome?

The exact cause of carpal tunnel syndrome is unknown.  Some speculate that repetitive motion in the hand and wrist, such as when typing at a computer or doing other forms of work, are contributors to the development of carpal tunnel syndrome.  Heredity, pregnancy, and other health conditions have been attributed to the development of carpal tunnel syndrome.

What are the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome?

Common symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome may include numbness, tingling, burning, and pain in the fingers (especially the thumb, index and middle fingers). It can also cause a shock-like sensation, as well as weakness or clumsiness in the hand. The symptoms can worsen over time and lead to nerve damage and muscle weakness.

How can carpal tunnel syndrome affect children?

Carpal tunnel syndrome is much less common in children than adults.  Injuries to the median nerve, however, can complicate the milestones of developing fine and gross motor skills that occur throughout childhood.

What are carpal tunnel syndrome treatments?

Treatments for carpal tunnel syndrome include anti-inflammatory medications, splinting, bracing, activity changes, steroid injections, and nerve gliding exercises. In severe instances, surgical treatment may be needed.

Reviewed by: Aaron Berger, MD

This page was last updated on: January 14, 2020 09:09 AM

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