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Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition in which repetitive motion and other causes make the median nerve "pinched" in the carpal tunnel of the wrist. This leads to feelings of numbness, muscle damage and weakness in the affected area. The area affected by the median nerve includes the thumb, the first, second and third digit and half of the fourth digit. The fifth digit is spared and is innervated by a different nerve.

The parts of the hand noted above are innervated by the median nerve that travels down the forearm and passes through the carpal tunnel, a small area bound by tendons in the wrist. It is the narrowest spot the nerve goes through and, if the ligaments and tendons become inflamed during motions that cause the median nerve to become cramped, then carpal tunnel syndrome ensues.

Repetitive motion injuries can come as a result of being a grocery store clerk, a computer keyboard operator, or any job requiring repetitive wrist motion. This can include sewing, assembly line jobs, driving, writing, painting, certain vibratory tools, racquetball, handball, playing certain musical instruments and other sports. Carpal tunnel is most common in those between the ages of thirty and sixty and women appear to have it more than men.

Carpal tunnel syndrome is made worse by certain other medical conditions such as a previous fracture, having acromegaly, having alcoholism or diabetes, being hypothyroid, having kidney failure and being in menopause or having premenstrual symptoms. Pregnant women are more likely affected as are those with rheumatoid arthritis and related conditions. The obese are more likely affected.

Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome includes tingling or numbness of the affected area of the hand, pain in the wrist extending up to the elbow in some cases, numbness of the palm of the hand, coordination difficulties involving the hand, a wasting away of the muscles of the thumb area, weakness of the affected hand and difficulty carrying even light objects.

Doctors can test for carpal tunnel syndrome by finding numbness in the affected area of the hand with sparing of the fifth finger. If the doctor taps over the median nerve in the wrist, there can be shooting pain radiating out to the hand. This is called having a positive Tinel's sign. If the wrist is bent forward at a ninety degree angle to the arm for sixty seconds and there is repetition of the numbness and tingling of the hand, it is called a positive Phalen's test.

An electromyogram can be done on the arm. Electrodes are inserted into the skin and the function of the nerve is measured. It will be diminished in the case of carpal tunnel along the median nerve. A nerve conduction velocity test will be abnormal. In some cases, x-rays are done to make sure there is no arthritis in the wrist as a cause of the pain and infirmity of the hand.

The treatment of carpal tunnel may involve wearing a special splint that tips the wrist back slightly. The splint can be worn simply at night for several weeks in order to settle down the inflammation of the median nerve. Sometimes the splint is worn both day and night to keep the wrist from bending forward. Some doctors prescribe Lasix, a water pill, in order to shrink the swelling of the wrist and reduce the pressure on the median nerve. There are special types of keyboards and mouse devices for the computer so that the pressure is kept off the forearm. You can review the way you do your job and try and do it without repetitive motion of the wrist or wear a splint while working so as to prevent movement of the wrist. The same is true of any recreational activities you like to do that cause carpal tunnel syndrome.

Some doctors will give you a steroid injection into the carpal tunnel to shrink swelling of the area and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications are used to reduce inflammation and swelling. Surgery to release the median nerve is used as a last resort in cases where nonsurgical methods fail to resolve the carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms.

HELPLINE: ☎ 1800 633 634

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Our personal injury solicitors operate a specialist medical negligence compensation service. Our Carpal Tunnel Syndrome solicitors deal with claims using a no win no fee arrangement which means that if you don�t win then you don�t pay them their professional costs. If you would like legal advice at no cost with no further obligation just complete the contact form or email our lawyers offices or use the helpline and a Carpal Tunnel Syndrome solicitor will review your medical negligence compensation claim and phone you immediately.