Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
The carpal tunnel is an anatomical space at the base of the hand through which a number of structures pass. Of greatest importance to those with carpal tunnel syndrome is the median nerve. As one of the major nerves supplying power and sensation to the hand, compression or damage to the median nerve can cause significant impairment.
A thick, fibrous band of tissue called the flexor retinaculum spans the carpal bones in the hand to form the carpal tunnel. As such, the tunnel is a strong, fixed space allowing passage to the tendons and nerve. For a number of reasons the pressure in this tunnel can increase and, as a relatively soft structure, the nerve is compressed.
Symptoms include numbness and tingling in the fingers and loss of strength or grip in the hand. These symptoms may be worse at night and may even wake you from sleep.
Diagnosis can usually be made from the symptoms but your GP may order a nerve conduction study prior to your appointment with a hand surgeon.
Non surgical management of carpal tunnel syndrome is sometimes possible with rest and splinting.