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What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is entrapment of the median nerve as it travels through the wrist’s carpal tunnel. The carpal tunnel is a narrow passageway which contains the median nerve and several muscle tendons running through it.

CTS is caused by the narrowing of the carpal tunnel, generally due to swelling within the area or enlargement of the contents that run within it. This may occur as a result of:
• Wrist fractures or tendon injuries
• Pregnancy
• Diabetes
• Fluid retention
• Rheumatoid arthritis
• Work, sports or hobbies that require repetitive wrist movements

Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

• Pins and needles or numbness in the thumb, index finger, middle finger and ring finger most common
• Pins and needles or numbness most common during the night, and may wake you up
• Wrist pain which may radiate up into the arm
• Weakness of the hand and fingers, which may lead to difficulty grasping objects
• Muscle wasting around the thumb

How can Physiotherapy help with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Management of CTS will be determined by your physiotherapist depending upon their findings during assessment. These may include:
• Splinting or taping
• Dry needling and/or massage
• Activity modification
• Nerve gliding exercises and strengthening
• Ergonomic advice

Some individuals with persistent CTS may also undergo minor surgery, which involves releasing of the median nerve. Physiotherapy input in this instant is also important to assist with the recovery and regaining use of your hand.

If you are concerned about your wrist pain or numbness, book an appointment with one of our physiotherapists who will assess you and assist you further.

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