The carpal tunnel is a narrow passageway in the wrist, about an inch wide. The floor and sides of the tunnel are formed by small wrist bones called carpal bones. Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common condition that causes pain, numbness, and tingling in the hand and arm. The condition occurs when one of the major nerves to the hand — the median nerve — is squeezed or compressed as it travels through the wrist via the carpal tunnel.
Signs & Symptoms
Symptoms which affect mainly the thumb, index finger, and middle finger
Pins and needles (often at night)
Pain up the arm to the neck
Weakness of grip
Easing of symptoms by shaking hands
What Causes It?
The median nerve can get compressed in the carpal tunnel.
In the carpal tunnel the median nerve passes between the tendons of flexor muscles of the wrist.If the muscles are tight or there is swelling, compression can occur.
More common in diabetics and pregnant females
How to Self Manage
Anti–inflammatory medication to reduce the swelling
Use of a wrist splint to provide protection and enforce rest
Corticosteroid injection if conservative management is unsuccessful.
Surgery may also be indicated following an unsuccessful cortisone injection.
How Physio Helps
Assessment to establish if symptoms are positive with Tinel’s test
Soft tissue massage to release tight muscles, and to shift swelling
Electrical therapies to reduce swelling
Nerve mobilisation to reduced tension of the median nerve
Provision of stretches and home exercises for rehabilitation