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Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

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 to the hand — the median nerve — is squeezed or compressed as it travels through the wrist.

Causes and Risk Factors

CTS is often the result of a combination of factors. These include anatomical factors, such as a narrow carpal tunnel, wrist injuries, and conditions that change the fluid balance in the body like pregnancy, rheumatoid arthritis, and diabetes. Repetitive hand motions, especially if the hand is lower than the wrist, and mechanical stress on the palm can also contribute.


Symptoms typically start gradually and can include tingling and numbness in the thumb, index, middle, and part of the ring fingers. Many people with CTS experience symptoms that worsen at night. As the syndrome progresses, individuals may experience weakness in the hand and a tendency to drop objects.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Diagnosis involves a review of the symptoms and physical examination, and sometimes nerve conduction studies. Initial treatment options include wrist splinting, especially at night, and avoiding activities that worsen symptoms. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and corticosteroids can relieve pain and reduce inflammation. If symptoms persist or worsen, surgical intervention may be necessary to relieve pressure on the median nerve.

Prevention and Management

Ergonomic adjustments to work and daily activities can reduce the risk of developing CTS. Regular breaks, maintaining a neutral wrist position, and exercises to stretch and strengthen the wrists and hands can also be beneficial.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a treatable condition, and most people recover completely with proper care and treatment. Early diagnosis and intervention are key to preventing long-term damage to the median nerve.