Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS)

Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when a nerve in the wrist (median nerve) is compressed.

Overview

Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when a nerve in the wrist (median nerve) is compressed. This causes pain and sensory disturbances in the fingers, typically at night. Possible causes include overload or tendonitis. Cooling and immobilisation provide relief, an operation is the last resort.

Symptoms

Main symptoms

  • Pain (in particular in the index and middle fingers, at night)
  • Sensory disturbances (tingling and numbness)
  • Atrophy of muscles at the base of the thumb

Causes and treatment

Causes

  • Pressure on the median nerve on the inside of the wrist
Risk factors
  • Overload (e.g. working with a computer keyboard or a jackhammer)
  • Tendonitis
  • Accident
  • Rheumatic conditions

Further treatment by your doctor / in hospital

Possible tests
  • Measurement of the speed of conduction of impulses down the affected nerve (electroneurography/nerve conduction study)
Possible therapies
  • Immobilisation with forearm splint
  • Operation

What can I do myself?

  • Carefully cool the wrist
  • Avoid overloading the wrist

When to see a doctor?

  • Pain in the fingers that mainly occurs at night
  • Sensory disturbances in the fingers
  • Atrophy of muscles at the base of the thumb

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CSS offers no guarantee for the accuracy and completeness of the information. The information published is no substitute for professional advice from a doctor or pharmacist.

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