Carpal tunnel syndrome is a member of a large set of diseases, collectively called repetitive strain injuries (RSI).
Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by too much pressure on the nerve that runs through the wrist. The carpal tunnel is the centre of the wrist. The bones and ligments in the wrist form a tunnel for the tendons and the median nerve to pass through. The median nerve conducts sensation for the thumb and fingers (except the little finger) and muscle impulses for the smaller muscles in the hand, particularly the palm.
There are many causes of carpal tunnel syndrome:
Symptoms include pain, numbness and tingling on the palm side of the thumb, fore finger, middle finger and ring finger. Loss of grip can also occur as the condition worsens. Permanent damage can occur if it is untreated but it is treatable with early diagnosis.
Treatment involves a splint, medication and, in some cases, surgery. Resting the wrist is the first step. Setting up workstations correctly can reduce stress on the wrist. Possible medicinal treatments are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin and ibuprofen and, if these fail, a corticosteroid can be injected into the carpal tunnel. These treatments can be temporary or permanent.