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History of Neurology: Seminal Citations
May 2000

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Author Affiliations

From The Division of Neurology, St Elizabeth's Medical Center, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, Mass.



Arch Neurol. 2000;57(5):754-755. doi:10.1001/archneur.57.5.754

Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is the most frequently encountered mononeuropathy in clinical practice. Although now a well–recognized entity, it took almost 100 years from the initial observations until the pathophysiology of the disorder was finally accepted as a median nerve compression at the wrist.

Sir James Paget (1854)1 was the first to describe the clinical features of CTS. His first patient was a man who developed pain and impaired sensation in the hand from the trauma of a cord drawn tightly around his wrist. In a second case, a tardy median nerve palsy was a consequence of a distal radius fracture; this patient improved with wrist immobilization and thus was also the first description of treatment with a neutral wrist splint, a method still in use today: