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Carpal Tunnel Syndrome


Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is caused by pressure on a nerve in your hand called the median nerve, at a specific location on your wrist that is known as the carpal tunnel.

The carpal tunnel houses a group of tendons called the flexor tendons, as well as the median nerve.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Diagram

Causes of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

CTS occurs when the flexor tendons that pass through the carpal tunnel outgrow that space, and pressure builds up around the median nerve causing pain and discomfort.

Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

  • Wrist pain that might radiate to the forearm, arm, neck, or shoulders.
  • Numbness and tingling on certain fingers.
  • Weakness of grip.
  • Severe nighttime hand pain.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Risk Factors

There is no one activity or condition that directly causes CTS, but there are certain risk factors that increase the likelihood of developing this condition:

  • Previous wrist injuries that have altered the space within the carpal tunnel or added more pressure to the median nerve.
  • Chronic illnesses that damage the nerves.
  • Inflammatory illnesses, such as arthritis.
  • Fluid retention due to pregnancy or menopause.
  • Women are three times more likely to develop CTS.
  • Performing activities with repetitive motions.
  • Smoking.
  • Tumors or ganglion cysts located on the wrist.
  • Hobbies that require intensive hand use, like knitting or playing computer games.
  • Obesity.

Learn More about carpal tunnel treatment >

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