Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition in which the median nerve is squeezed where it passes through the wrist. Carpal is a medical term to describe the wrist and syndrome is a combination of symptoms caused by the nerve being squeezed. The median nerve provides muscle strength to the thumb and sensation to the thumb, index, middle and half of the ring fingers. Women are more likely to develop this condition than men. It can affect people of all ages, but more common in over 40’s.
There are various causes of carpal tunnel syndrome including:
- Pregnancy: hormonal changes during pregnancy can cause swelling within the wrist which puts extra pressure on the nerve. Symptoms usually settle following the birth
- Degenerative or injury related changes to the wrist joint. Any arthritis (rheumatoid or osteoarthritis) in the wrist if there is swelling of the joints can cause symptoms. A fracture to the wrist or other wrist injuries
- Other medical conditions such as diabetes and underactive thyroid
- Workplace factors including using computer and/or mouse or manual work involving sustained pressure on the wrist and palm