What Is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Carpal tunnel syndrome, also called median nerve compression, is a condition that causes numbness, tingling, or weakness in your hand. It happens because of pressure on your median nerve, which runs the length of your arm, goes through a passage in your wrist called the carpal tunnel, and ends in your hand. The median controls the movement and feeling of your thumb and the movement of all your fingers except your pinky.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Symptoms
- Burning, tingling, or itching numbness in your palm and thumb or your index and middle fingers
- Weakness in your hand and trouble holding things
- Shock-like feelings that move into your fingers
- Tingling that moves up into your arm
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Causes
Often, people don't know what brought on their carpal tunnel syndrome. It can be due to:
- Repetitive motions, like typing, or any wrist movements that you do over and over. This is especially true of things you do when your hands are lower than your wrists.
- Conditions like hypothyroidism, obesity, rheumatoid arthritis, and diabetes
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Risk Factors
You might have a higher risk of getting carpal tunnel syndrome if you:
- Are a woman. Women are three times more likely than men to get it. This might be because they tend to have smaller carpal tunnels.
- Have a family member with small carpal tunnels
- Have a job in which you make the same motions with your arm, hand, or wrist over and over, such as an assembly line worker, sewer or knitter, baker, cashier, hairstylist, or musician
- Fracture or dislocate your wrist
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Diagnosis and Tests
- Imaging tests. X-rays, ultrasounds, or MRI exams can let your doctor look at your bones and tissues.
- Electromyogram. Your doctor puts a thin electrode into a muscle to measure its electrical activity.
- Nerve conduction studies. Your doctor tapes electrodes to your skin to measure the signals in the nerves of your hand and arm.