Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is the name for a group of problems that includes swelling, pain, tingling, and loss of strength in your wrist and hand. Your wrist is made of small bones that form a narrow groove or carpal tunnel. Tendons and a nerve called the median nerve must pass through this tunnel from your forearm into your hand. The median nerve controls the feelings and sensations in the palm side of your thumb and fingers. Sometimes swelling and irritation of the tendons can put pressure on the wrist nerve, causing the symptoms of CTS. A person's dominant hand is the one that is usually affected. However, nearly half of CTS sufferers have symptoms in both hands.
It is important to be treated by a doctor for CTS in order to avoid permanent damage to the wrist nerve and muscles of the hand and thumb. Underlying causes, such as diabetes or a thyroid problem, should be addressed first. Left untreated, CTS can cause nerve damage that leads to loss of feeling and hand strength. Over time, the muscles of the thumb can become weak and damaged. You can even lose the ability to feel hot and cold by touch. Permanent injury occurs in about 1 percent of those with CTS.
CTS is much easier to treat early on. Most CTS patients get better after first-step treatments and the following tips for protecting the wrist. Treatments for CTS include the following: