Carpal tunnel syndrome, also known as CTS, is a painful irritation of the median nerve in the hand and wrist. CTS develops over time because of repetitive hand motions. The condition can cause pain, numbness or tingling in the hand and fingers.
The Carpal Tunnel
The carpal tunnel is a space between the carpal ligaments and the bones at the base of the hand. The tendons that flex the thumb, index and ring fingers pass through this space. So does the median nerve, which supplies feeling to the thumb, index and ring fingers.
Heavy keyboard use or other repetitive activities may cause damage to the tissue in the carpal tunnel. Over time, swelling may occur in the carpal ligament or in the protective lining of the carpal tendons.
The swollen ligament and/or tendons can press harmfully on the median nerve, pinching it and causing numbness, pain, tingling or weakness in the parts of the hand served by the median nerve.
Carpal tunnel syndrome can be treated with rest, steroid injections or surgery.