Carpal tunnel syndrome animation

By: NHS Choices

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common condition that causes pain and numbness in your hand and fingers. It affects one of the main nerves in your hand. It travels from the armpit, down the arm and through the carpal tunnel at the wrist into the hand. The carpal tunnel is a narrow passage in your wrist made up of small bones. And a tough band of tissue.

The carpal tunnel protects the median nerve and tendons that pass through it. These tendons move your fingers and wrist and the median nerve controls your thumb muscles and gives you feeling in your hand. If the narrow space inside the carpal tunnel is reduced, it can put pressure on the median nerve. This is known as: It can be caused by:..

..or a condition such as rheumatoid arthritis which causes swelling around the wrist. When the median nerve is compressed, it may cause pain, numbness, and a burning or tingling sensation in your hand and fingers. The muscles in your thumb may also become weak, making it difficult to grip objects. Carpal tunnel syndrome often goes away without treatment, which is common in pregnant women and those under the age of 30. If your symptoms are mild to moderate, carpal tunnel syndrome can be treated with a wrist splint or anti-inflammatory medicines to reduce the swelling. However, if your symptoms are severe, and no other treatment has worked, your doctor may recommend you have surgery known as: You will be given an injection, local anaesthetic, to numb your hand and arm.

Your surgeon will use either open surgery or keyhole, laparoscopic, surgery. In open surgery, a single incision is made along the base of your palm and a cut is made in the carpal ligament to release the pressure on the median nerve. In keyhole surgery, a smaller incision is made above the wrist and a tube with a small camera, endoscope and special instruments are used to cut the carpal ligament. There is a slightly shorter recovery time when keyhole surgery is performed, although there is no real difference in the success of the two operations.

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