Carpal tunnel syndrome is characterised by numbness and tingling in the hand and arm caused by a compression of the median nerve as it passes through the wrist.
What Is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Carpal tunnel syndrome is the compression of the median nerve as it passes through the carpal tunnel. The carpal tunnel is formed at the base by the carpal bones and on top by the flexor retinaculum. The median nerve plus the flexor tendons to the hand pass through the carpal tunnel.
Swelling, positioning, repetitive strong gripping and direct pressure can cause compression to the nerve, causing numbness, tingling, pins and needles, weakness, and pain. The median nerve supplies the sensation to the skin to the volar thumb, index, middle and radial side of the ring finger.
Numbness in other areas may be caused by compression to different nerves. The median nerve also supplies the abductor pollicis brevis (APB) muscle, which abducts the thumb. Severe carpal tunnel syndrome can lead to wasting of this muscle and weakness in pinch grip.
Treating Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome may include:
• Application of a wrist splint to maintain wrist in neutral position. May be needed full-time initially, then continue at night and for aggravating activities
• Nerve glides
• Using anti-inflammatory creams
• Cortisone Injections
• Activity modification and education
• Surgery to release the carpal tunnel