Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is the compression of the median nerve within a canal created at the wrist by the carpal bones bordering the bottom of the canal and a thick, fibrous ligament laying over the top.
The median nerve is one of the three main nerves that provide power and sensation to the arm.
The median nerve is the "power cord" that travels from the neck to the fingers, supplying sensation to the thumb, index, middle and half the ring finger. This nerve also supplies power to the thumb muscles in the hand that moves the thumb into opposition (tip-to-tip pinch to the other fingers).
Pain in the wrist, thumb and hand.
Pain may radiate to the elbow and even the shoulder.
Numbness and tingling, typically in the thumb, index and middle fingers and half of the ring finger with activity.
Nighttime numbness in the hand.
Feeling clumsy or frequently dropping objects.
In severe cases, the muscles at the base of the thumb may become soft or soggy and it becomes difficult to perform fine-motor activity such as picking up pills or coins or putting on earrings.
Common Treatments may include:
Use of a wrist brace, splint or orthotic at night to hold the wrist in a flat (neutral) position. In this position, the canal has the largest volume. More room in the tunnel means less pressure on the median nerve.
OrthoInfo Learning Module (AAOS) - a comprehensive learning module defining carpal tunnel syndrome, explaining conservative treatment options, outlining surgical options, advising on how to prepare for surgery & what to expect following surgery.
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