July 27, 1998

The Many Faces of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Author Affiliations

Copyright 1998 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.1998

Arch Intern Med. 1998;158(14):1496. doi:10.1001/archinte.158.14.1496

CARPAL TUNNEL syndrome (CTS) is the most common of the nerve entrapment disorders.1 The symptoms associated with this syndrome result from compression of the median nerve typically as it passes through the wrist deep to the flexor retinaculum. This is a narrow, confined space formed by the 8 carpal bones and the transverse carpal ligament. Minimal swelling of any of the components within this space results in increased pressure on the median nerve. The initial presentation of this syndrome is usually that of paresthesia on the radial side of the hand. The affected individual often experiences such symptoms as numbness, painful tingling, and burning pain. There may be a perception of swelling, sometimes awakening the individual at night. Progressive involvement of the nerve can lead to weakness and even thenar atrophy.

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