Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) occurs when the median nerve becomes pressed or squeezed at the wrist.
The result may be numbness, weakness, or sometimes pain in the hand and wrist, or occasionally in the forearm and arm. The symptoms often first appear in one or both hands during the night.
A person with carpal tunnel syndrome may wake up feeling the need to "shake out" the hand or wrist. In chronic and/or untreated cases, the muscles at the base of the thumb may waste away. Some people are unable to tell between hot and cold by touch. Women are three times more likely than men to develop carpal tunnel syndrome.
Early diagnosis and treatment are important to avoid permanent damage to the median nerve. A medical history and physical examination is very important. Specific tests may reproduce the symptoms of CTS like the Tinel test. Nerve test may help confirm the diagnosis of CTS.