The 'carpal tunnel' is a space in the wrist located on the palm side of your arm. This narrow 'carpal tunnel' is made by the wrist bones, ligaments and held in place with a fibrous sheath (the flexor retinaculum). The median nerve and 9 tendons that connect to fingers in your hand run through this tunnel. The tunnel protects the nerve and the tendon help bend your fingers and act like a pulley for the tendons in the forearm connected to your fingers.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is the name for a group of problems that includes swelling, pain, tingling, and loss of strength in your wrist and hand. This condition will happen when the median nerve, which runs from the forearm into the hand through the carpal tunnel, becomes squeezed (compressed) by damaged tissue inside or outside of the carpal tunnel.
Some of the most common symptoms of carpal tunnel include:
- numbness and tingling in your hands while sleeping
- pain in your hand or wrist that radiates up your forearm
- loss of feeling in your hands
- poor circulation, loss of grip strength or atrophy (wasting away) of the muscles in your thumb and/or hand
- overcompensation pain in your opposite (healthy) wrist, elbow or shoulder