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1. What is carpal tunnel syndrome?
A common condition, carpal tunnel syndrome is characterised by sensations of pain, tingling, and numbness affecting the hand and arm. This condition occurs due to the compression of the median nerve (major nerve supplying the hand) during its passage through the wrist.
2. What are the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome?
Following are the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome:
• Pain, tingling, numbness or burning (sometimes shock-like) sensations in the index, ring, thumb, and middle fingers that radiate to the forearm and shoulder
• Weakness in the hand making fine movements difficult, reducing the grip
• Symptoms begin gradually, and are intermittent initially, and may worsen if left untreated
3. What causes carpal tunnel syndrome?
Carpal tunnel syndrome can occur due to:
• Repetitive actions with wrist higher than the hand (typing)
• Prolonged holding of an object (diving, reading, etc.)
• Sleeping on bent wrists
• Disorders (diabetes, hypothyroidism, rheumatoid arthritis)
4. How do I know whether I am at a risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome?
There are higher chances of developing carpal tunnel syndrome in cases of:
• Family history
• Work demanding extreme wrist motions and vibration
• Deformity, fracture or dislocation of wrist or hand
• Deposition of amyloid deposits
• A process called haemodialysis in case of kidney failure
5. How is carpal tunnel syndrome diagnosed?
Following steps are used to diagnose carpal tunnel syndrome:
• Physical examination along with medical history taken by the physician
• Tests such as tinel’s sign (to check for tingling), wrist flexion test (to check for numbness and tingling)
• Electromyography (EMG) (functioning of median nerve checked)