Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

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The human wrist contains a strong, fibrous sheath of tough connective tissue, the flexor retinaculum, which envelops and protects several arrangements of bone. The carpal tunnel is the space between this sheath and the bones making up the wrist and hand. The carpal tunnel houses one nerve, the median nerve, which becomes compressed and causes carpal tunnel syndrome. The median nerve controls sensation and small muscles in the thumb, index finger, and middle finger. Carpal tunnel syndrome is a medical condition in which the median nerve is compressed at the wrist. [5] This stress on the nerve leads to pain, numbness, and muscle weakness in the forearm and all fingers in which the median nerve plays a part. Symptoms start gradually and also include frequent burning, tingling, and itching in the palm of the hand and fingers. Many of these symptoms are apparent at night because many people sleep with bent wrists, compressing the carpal tunnel. Fingers may feel swollen, even though little or no swelling is apparent.[7] Many sufferers of carpal tunnel syndrome have a decrease in grip strength and have difficulty forming a fist. In severe cases, some may be unable to differentiate between hot and cold touch and the thenar muscles, those which are connected to the thumb, may atrophy.[5] Repetitive activities are often blamed in the progression of carpal tunnel syndrome, but many cases of carpal tunnel syndrome have no known cause. Another cause is the size of the wrist and a history of carpal tunnel running in one's family.[6] Some may have been born with a carpal tunnel or wrist that is smaller than average. Trauma to the wrist, stress, a sprain or fracture, and other diseases may also increase an individual's susceptibility. Related trauma may be a dislocation of one of the carpal bones of the wrist, strong blunt trauma, a hematoma inside of the wrist, or an abnormal healing of a previous fracture. Swelling and fluid retention can cause the median nerve to become...
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