Carpal tunnel syndrome (wrist nerve compression)

Hands | Orthopaedics | Carpal tunnel syndrome (wrist nerve compression) (Disease)


Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is an entrapment median neuropathy, causing compression at the wrist in the carpal tunnel. The condition results from pressure on the nerve where it passes into the hand via a gap under a ligament at the front of the wrist.

Patients experience numbness, tingling, or burning sensations in the thumb and fingers, in particular the index, middle fingers, and radial half of the ring fingers, pain extending to the elbow, pain in wrist or hand in one or both hands, weakness and atrophy in one or both hands.

Causes and Risk factors

Carpal tunnel syndrome is common in people who perform repetitive motions of the hand and wrist. Typing on a computer keyboard is probably the most common cause of carpal tunnel. Other causes include: sewing, driving, assembly line work, painting, writing, use of tools, especially hand tools or tools that vibrate, sports such as racquetball or handball, playing some musical instruments. Also some medical problems are associated with carpal tunnel syndrome, including: bone fractures and arthritis of the wrist, acromegaly, diabetes, alcoholism, hypothyroidism, kidney failure and dialysis, menopause, premenstrual syndrome, and pregnancy, infections, obesity, rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), and scleroderma.

Diagnosis and Treatment

There is no consensus reference standard for the diagnosis of carpal tunnel syndrome, physical examination and tests as: electromyography, nerve conduction velocity and wrist X-rays can be perform.

The condition often disappears without treatment. Persistent symptoms may be treated with a corticosteroid drugs injected under the ligament, or the ligament may be cut to relieve pressure on the nerve. ...

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