The median nerve is a sensory and motor nerve running along your arm that helps you move your hands and fingers. It goes through the carpal tunnel, which is a narrow passageway in your wrist. This nerve can become compressed due to repetitive hand motions, irregular anatomy or health problems. If this were to happen, you might experience tingling, numbness or weakness in your hand brought on by carpal tunnel syndrome.
Causes of Carpal Tunnel SyndromeAlso called median nerve compression, this condition can be brought on by the following:
- Repetitive tasks that involve working the hands and wrist, such as typing, performing assembly line work or using power tools that cause vibration.
- Repetitive grasping movements or impact from sports.
- If there was trauma to the hand or wrist, such as swelling, a sprain, a dislocation or a fracture.
- Medical conditions such as arthritis, diabetes, obesity and hypothyroidism.
- Flexing or extending the wrist for prolonged periods. For example, when driving or pushing a shopping cart.
Who Is At Risk For Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?Median nerve compression can affect anyone, but certain groups are more likely to develop carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms. You may have a higher risk of getting this condition if you are:
- Female: Women are three times more likely than men to get it because they have smaller carpal tunnels, so it is easier for the nerve to get compressed.
- Over the Age of 40: In older people, their nerves and muscles weaken with time.
- Pregnant or Menopausal: The changes in body fluid cause fluid retention, which may then increase the pressure within the carpal tunnel.
- Diabetes or Other Metabolic Disorders: These conditions directly affect the body’s nerves and make them more susceptible to compression.
- Inflammatory Conditions: People who live with conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis. This is because synovial expansion, joint erosions and ligamentous laxity result in compression of the median nerve due to increased intracarpal pressure.
- Work Habits: Someone who regularly works with vibrating tools or on an assembly line that requires prolonged or repetitive wrist flexing.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome SymptomsSymptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome often include:
- Tingling, burning or itching numbness in your palm, thumb, index or middle fingers
- Fingers feeling fuzzy or swollen
- Weakness in your hand
- Trouble pinching and holding things
- Dropping objects