Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition that causes tingling and weakness in your fingers, wrist and hand, which can make it difficult to perform work-related tasks and other daily activities. Having this condition diagnosed and treated early is the best way to prevent it from causing complications, such as irreversible damage to nerves and muscles.
What Causes It?
Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the median nerve in your hand and forearm is compressed. This can happen for a number of reasons, ranging from injuries that affect the nerve to repetitive use, such as typing. You might have a higher chance of having carpal tunnel syndrome if you have one or more of these risk factors:
- Being a woman, since this condition tends to occur more often in women
- An underlying medical condition that can affect your nerves, such as diabetes, or an inflammatory condition, such as rheumatoid arthritis
- A job that requires you to perform repetitive tasks that strain this part of your hand, such as a data entry position or assembly line work
- A condition that causes you to retain more bodily fluid, such as pregnancy or menopause
What Are the Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Common symptoms of this condition typically include the following:
Tingling: This often begins in your thumb and fingers. In most cases, this tingling affects the middle and index fingers, which are used most often for typing and other manual tasks. It usually flares up or becomes worse when you’re holding objects or performing certain tasks, such as typing.
Joint pain or soreness: You might experience joint pain in your wrist, which can travel up your arm.
Weakness: This can occur in the affected hand, making it hard to hold items without dropping them.
If you have carpal tunnel syndrome, there are several treatment options available. These include nonsurgical treatments, such as wearing a wrist splint or taking medications that reduce inflammation. If you have persistent or severe joint pain caused by carpal tunnel syndrome, an orthopedic surgeon can discuss surgical treatment options with you.