Carpal tunnel syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome
is a common condition

that causes pain and numbness
in your hand and fingers.

It affects one of the main nerves
in your hand.

It travels from the armpit, down the arm

and through the carpal tunnel
at the wrist into the hand.

The carpal tunnel
is a narrow passage in your wrist

made up of small bones.

And a tough band of tissue.

The carpal tunnel protects the median
nerve and tendons that pass through it.

These tendons
move your fingers and wrist

and the median nerve
controls your thumb muscles

and gives you feeling in your hand.

If the narrow space
inside the carpal tunnel is reduced,

it can put pressure on the median nerve.
This is known as:

It can be caused by:...

..or a condition
such as rheumatoid arthritis

which causes swelling around the wrist.

When the median nerve is compressed,
it may cause pain, numbness,

and a burning or tingling sensation
in your hand and fingers.

The muscles in your thumb
may also become weak,

making it difficult to grip objects.

Carpal tunnel syndrome
often goes away without treatment,

which is common in pregnant women
and those under the age of 30.

If your symptoms are mild to moderate,

carpal tunnel syndrome
can be treated with a wrist splint

or anti-inflammatory medicines
to reduce the swelling.

However, if your symptoms are severe,
and no other treatment has worked,

your doctor may recommend
you have surgery known as:

You will be given an injection,
local anaesthetic,

to numb your hand and arm.

Your surgeon will use
either open surgery

or keyhole, laparoscopic, surgery.

In open surgery, a single incision
is made along the base of your palm

and a cut is made
in the carpal ligament

to release the pressure
on the median nerve.

In keyhole surgery, a smaller incision
is made above the wrist

and a tube with a small camera,
endoscope and special instruments

are used to cut the carpal ligament.

There is a slightly shorter recovery
time when keyhole surgery is performed,

although there is no real difference
in the success of the two operations.