Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is a common condition that causes pain, numbness, and tingling in the hand and arm. The condition occurs when one of the major nerves in the hand—the median nerve—is compressed as it travels through the wrist. The median nerve controls movement in the thumb and feeling in the thumb and first three fingers. It runs down the arm and forearm, passes through the carpal tunnel at the wrist, and goes into the hand.
Carpal tunnel syndrome causes serious and uncomfortable symptoms that affect daily activities, including career and sports. The pain can be described anywhere from sharp, shooting, and burning pain into the palm of the hand, fingers, and thumb to pain shooting up the forearm or mild numbness at night from the middle of the arm to the tips of the fingers. The most common symptoms include:
Anything that squeezes or irritates the median nerve in the carpal tunnel space may cause carpal tunnel syndrome. Inflammation and swelling may be the result of an underlying medical condition, overuse, injury, or repetitive motions. Typical causes of carpal tunnel syndrome include:
Mild symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome are focused on alleviating pressure on the median nerve with specific exercises, stretches, and rest. Sometimes, medications or corticosteroid injections may be helpful.