The carpel tunnel is formed of the carpel bones along the palmar side of the wrist by the carpal ligament on the base of the wrist. This tunnel is filled with flexor tendons, order blood vessels and nerves, especially the median nerve which is the most likely to be involved in CTS.
Symptoms include: numbness of the fingers particularly the thumb, middle and index fingers; tingling of pins and needles of the thumb, index and middle fingers; pain in hand and forearm; loss of muscle strength.
People can be predisposed to CTS and some of the contributing factors are:
- Occupational overuse,
- Repetitive wrist movements (RSI),
- Strong gripping,
- Vibration forces,
- Pregnancy and child rearing,
- Hobbies and past times (e.g. knitting)
- Medical conditions (e.g. diabetes, thyroid disease, bone fractures, fluid retention)
- Genetic predisposition and adopting different sleeping postures.
There is a higher incidence of CTS in people between the age of 30 and 60 and affects 3 times more females than males.
Conservative treatment should be the first line of action. This includes hand therapy, rest, work and home modifications and splinting. In my experience, the conservative approach resolves 50% of cases. Severe cases may need surgical intervention such as release of the carpal tunnel.
For further information contact Anup Kumar Mangipudi, Msc, O.T, Member AOTA, AHTA, Hand Therapist, Rehabilitation Consultant. Phone 9545 3590