Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is a condition that affects the hands and wrist. It is caused by compression of a nerve that lies within a narrow space in the wrist surrounded by several tendons and bones. This small space is called the carpal tunnel. When this nerve is compressed, usually by inflammation due to repetitive wrist motion, a patient can experience numbness, tingling, or pain in the thumb, index, middle, and ring fingers as well as the hand itself. If severe enough, hand weakness may also develop. A patient with CTS may experience pain or difficulty with buttoning their clothes, opening jars, or turning door knobs. They may also complain of numbness or tingling in the hand upon wakening. This condition can be easily diagnosed by a thorough history, physical examination, and an EMG, a test which examines the nerves and muscles of the hand and arm. Treatment may consist of medication, bracing, physical therapy, and, if severe enough, surgery.