What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
The carpal tunnel is a narrow tube in the wrist that allows the median nerve and tendons to connect to the hand and forearm. There are two main parts of the tunnel:
- Ligament: the top of the tunnel is a strong ligament that holds the tunnel together
- Carpal bones: the bones that make up the bottom and sides of the tunnel, they form a semi-circle.
Within the tunnel are the median nerve and tendons. The median nerve is what provides feeling to most of the fingers in the hand, the pinky finger being the exception, and gives greater strength to the base of the thumb and index finger. The tendons in the carpal tunnel are rope-like and connect muscles in the forearm to the bones in the hand, allowing the fingers and thumb to bend.
Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when there is increased pressure within the wrist on the median nerve, creating pain, numbness, weakness, and tingling sensations.