Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is a very common problem and one of the leading causes of work-related injuries. This is partially due to the advancement in technology coupled with the dramatic increase in the pace of work performance in recent decades (1). The carpal tunnel is a small space in the wrist made up of wrist bones (carpal bones) and a ligament on top, through which 9 tendons and the median nerve travel into the hand.
CTS is often times caused by prolonged use of our hands and wrists (repetitive stress). As a result, there is swelling of the forearm and wrist muscle tendons inside the carpal tunnel, forcing the median nerve upwards against the “roof” of the tunnel (the transverse carpal ligament), pinching it. Symptoms initially include numbness or tingling, followed later by weakness in the muscles innervated by the median nerve. This often results in grip and pinch strength loss, the dropping of pens, difficulty buttoning a shirt, waking up at night with numbness in the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th fingers of the involved hand, and driving induced numbness.
In addition to overuse, there are other causes or contributors to the onset and presence of CTS: