Carpal Tunnel Syndrome PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 17 January 2012 07:59
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common nerve disorder that affects the hand and the wrist. It usually affects adults and occurs in women much more than men.

The carpal tunnel is a narrow, tunnel-like structure in the wrist. The bottom and sides of this tunnel are formed by wrist (carpal) bones. The top of the tunnel is covered by a strong band of connective tissue called the transverse carpal ligament.


This disorder is a result of a number of factors that put pressure on the median nerve and tendons in the carpal tunnel. Many things contribute to the development of carpal tunnel syndrome:

  • Heredity - some people may have a norrower carpal tunnel compared to others, and this trait can run in families.
  • Over use, or work which involves repetition which may increase stress on the rist
  • Hormonal changes related to pregnancy can play a role.
  • Age — the disease occurs more frequently in older people.
  • Medical conditions, including diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and thyroid gland imbalance can play a role.

Frequent Signs & Symptoms


  • Symptoms may start gradually, and may affect the index, middle & thumb fingers of the dom
    inant hand.
  • Numbness, tingling, and pain in the hand
  • Sharp pain that shoots from the wrist up to the arms
  • Pain or a burning sensation mostly in the thumb, index, and long fingers
  • Morning stiffness or cramping of the hands
  • Thumb weakness
  • Inability to make a fist

Symptoms usually begin gradually, without a specific injury. In most people, symptoms are more severe on the thumb side of the hand.



Carpal tunnel syndrome will progressively worsen if left untreated or even have permanent damage. However, if treated on it's early stage it maybe be modified or stopped. For example, if symptoms are clearly related to an activity or occupation, the condition may not progress if the occupation or activity is stopped or modified.


Should you be diagnosed and treated early, carpal tunnel syndrome can be relieve without surgery. Your doctor may try simple measures first like bracing or splinting, medications, modification of activities for your hands and steroid injections. However, if no relief is gained with non surgical treatment, he may recommend surgery, depending on the severity of your symptoms.

What to expect after surgery

After surgery expect complete recovery in about a year. Pinching and gripping strength on average may return in about 2 months after surgery. Most of the symptoms will improve after surgery, however if you continue experiencing significant pain and weakness for more than 2 months, it may help improve your hand strength by working with a hand therapist. For those who endured the symptoms for too long on the other hand may recover slower and may not be able to regain the same strength and function of their hand.




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