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Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Definition:

A common nerve dysfunction due to compression of the median nerve as it passes under the transverse carpal ligament, also known as the carpal tunnel, at the base of the hand.

Causes:

The causes are often compression of the hand at the palm and poor ergonomics. This is common with those who engage in repetitive activity. Working with vibrating power tools, frequent typing and other activities putting pressure over the base of the palm are commonly associated with increased risk of carpal tunnel symptom.

Symptoms:

Symptoms include tingling, numbness and pain, usually specific to the thumb, index finger, middle finger and half of the ring finger. If the ulnar nerve is involved, similar symptoms occur at the small finger as well.  Hand weakness is common with more advanced carpal tunnel symptoms. A common test for carpal tunnel involves gentle tapping at the base of the palm. If your tingling increases, it is likely you have CTS.

Treatment:

Treatment generally focuses on:

  • Ergonomic modifications
  • Splinting the wrist in a neutral position
  • Nerve decompression/gliding
  • Therapeutic exercises

Ergonomic modifications correct the immediate causes of compression and inflammation around the nerve. Nerve irritation and smoothing of the movement of the nerve are completed by gliding the nerve through the tunnel. After education in activity modifications, therapeutic exercise is initiated to restore hand strength and conditioning.

Recommended Info For Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Hand and wrist pain or numbness from common issues such as arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome or sprains can make everyday activities difficult.
South Sound Physical & Hand Therapy Pain Guide