The true incidence of rheumatoid arthritis in the world is unknown as precise statistics are not available. It is estimated that 320,000 people a year in the United States alone are rendered unemployable by rheumatic diseases.
The patient with chronic rheumatoid arthritis has multiple complaints from a variety of deformities and acutely inflamed joints. The hands and wrists are often involved with destruction of the carpal joints and the joints of the hand. Since pain is synonymous with arthritis, the clinician must be keenly aware of any change in the patient's pain or other symptoms in order to recognize compression of the median nerve in the carpal tunnel.
The anatomy of the carpal region lends itself very readily to compression of the median nerve. The carpal bones form a concave surface for the flexor tendons to lie in, and the median nerve passes into the hand lying upon the volar
MARMOR L. Median Nerve Compression in Rheumatoid Arthritis. Arch Surg. 1964;89(6):1008-1010. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1964.01320060076014