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Carpal Tunnel Syndrome


Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition causing numbness, tingling, pain and weakness in the hand. It is caused by compression of the median nerve (one of the major nerves) at the level of the wrist.

The Carpal tunnel is an opening within the wrist where the median nerve and finger tendons pass. This passageway is bordered by bones of the wrist at the base and the roof of it is formed by the thick transverse carpal ligament.

Carpal tunnel syndrome affects 3-10% of population. It is most common after 40 years of age. Females are more affected than males.



MOST cases of carpal tunnel syndrome don't have an obvious cause.

Other common causes include:

  • Injury – e.g.: broken wrist.
  • Jobs requiring repetitive wrist motion.
  • Pregnancy.
  • Diabetes.
  • Obesity.
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis.
  • Gout.
  • Hypothyroidism.

Signs and Symptoms

Diagnosis is based on patient symptoms, examination findings and specific tests.

Tingling / numbness

This usually occurs in the thumb, index finger and middle finger. It may be worse at night and is sometimes relieved by using/shaking the hand.


Pain may occur in the hand and can sometimes involve the forearm


There will be difficulty gripping onto objects for long periods of time. E.g.: holding onto steering wheel of car.


Dropping objects e.g.: coffee cups.


Nerve Conduction Test and EMG

This test is usually conducted by a Neurologist (nerve specialist). It is used to determine the conduction speed and signal strength of the Nerve. However, some patients with symptoms and signs of carpal tunnel syndrome may still have a normal test result.

Ultrasound / MRI

These can show compression and flattening of the nerve in the carpal tunnel.

Non-surgical treatment

Activity Modification

Avoiding activities which cause the symptoms. This may involve changing jobs or changing roles at work.

Wrist Splint / Brace

This can be worn at night or during the day at work. It stops your wrist from bending and will reduce the pressure on the nerve.

Pain Killers / Anti-inflammatory Medications

These assist with pain only.


Massage therapy may assist with pain.


Corticosteroid / Cortisone injection can be used as a temporary measure to relieve symptoms.


Endoscopic Carpal Tunnel Release