Some people might think that carpal tunnel syndrome is a new condition of the information technology age, born from long hours of computer keyboarding. But carpal tunnel syndrome isn't new. Evidence of people experiencing signs and symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome occurs in medical records dating back to the beginning of the 20th century.
Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) or median neuropathy at the wrist is a medical condition in which the median nerve is compressed at the wrist, leading to pain, paresthesias, and muscle weakness in the hand. True carpal tunnel only elicits symptoms in the thumb, index, and middle fingers, along the median nerve distribution, but some patients may experience symptoms in the palm as well.A form of compressive neuropathy, CTS is more common in women than it is in men and has a peak incidence around age 42, though it can occur at any age. The lifetime risk for CTS is around 10% of the adult population.
Most cases of CTS are idiopathic (without known cause). Repetitive activities are often blamed for the development of CTS along with several other possible causes. However, the correlation is often unclear.
It is a multi-faceted problem and can therefore be challenging to treat. Still, there are a multitude of possible treatments: treating any possible underlying disease or condition, immobilizing braces, prioritizing hand activities, and ergonomics. Recent studies have shown that medications have not been able to modify the extent of the disease. Ultimately, carpal tunnel release surgery may be required in which outcomes are generally good.