Carpal tunnel syndrome is a painful compression (pinching) of the median nerve as it passes through the carpal tunnel in the wrist.
The cause of most cases of carpal tunnel syndrome is unknown.
The fingers and palm near the thumb can be painful and tingle and become numb.
Doctors base the diagnosis on an examination and, if needed, the results of nerve function tests.
Symptoms can usually be relieved by pain relievers, a splint, or sometimes injection of a corticosteroid or surgery.
The carpal tunnel is called a tunnel because it is the narrow passageway through which nerves and tendons pass through the wrist to the hand. The tunnel is made of the surrounding tendons, ligaments, and bones. The median nerve is located at the palm side of the wrist and passes through the carpal tunnel. This nerve provides sensation to the thumb, index finger, middle finger, and the thumb side of the ring finger.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is very common, especially among women aged 30 to 50 years. It may affect one or both hands.