What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

In carpal tunnel syndrome, individuals often experience pain in the hand and arm due to the compression of a nerve in the wrist. The carpal tunnel, a narrow passage in the wrist surrounded by ligaments and bones, houses the median nerve and finger-bending tendons. Compression of the median nerve leads to numbness, pain, and eventually weakness in the hand—the hallmark symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. Several factors contribute to this condition, including wrist injuries, wrist anatomy, underlying health issues, and possibly, unusual hand usage patterns.


Carpal tunnel syndrome arises from the compression of the median nerve within the carpal tunnel. This nerve provides sensation to the palm side of the thumb, index, middle, and ring fingers, as well as controls muscles around the base of the thumb. Irritation of the nerve by any factor that crowds, irritates, or compresses it in the carpal tunnel can lead to CTS, although in many cases, the specific cause remains unidentified.

Symptoms of CTS

Typically, carpal tunnel syndrome begins gradually with a mild wrist ache that may extend to the hand or forearm. Common symptoms include tingling or numbness in the thumb, index, middle, or ring fingers (excluding the little finger), along with pain radiating from the wrist to the arm, shoulder, palm, or fingers, especially worsening with repetitive or forceful use. Weakness in the hands and a tendency to drop objects are also common symptoms.

Treatment of CTS

Treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome can be either conservative or surgical. Conservative approaches involve wrist splinting, pain-relieving medications such as NSAIDs (aspirin and ibuprofen), and corticosteroids, typically recommended for mild cases. If symptoms persist despite conservative treatment or are severe, surgery may be necessary.