carpal tunnel syndrome
- a common disorder of the wrist and hand characterized by pain, tingling, and muscular weakness, caused by pressure on the median nerve in the wrist area and often associated with trauma, rheumatoid arthritis, or edema of pregnancy.
* * *condition of numbness, tingling, or pain in the wrist caused by repetitive flexing or stressing of the fingers or wrist over a long period of time. Possibly the most common repetitive stress injury in the workplace, CTS is frequently associated with the modern office, where the computer has transformed the nature of the work people do with their hands and arms.CTS is caused by pressure on the median nerve, a soft structure filled with fibres that carry nerve impulses back and forth between the hand and the spinal cord via the wrist joint. The wrist joint is formed by two rows of bones called the carpal bones (carpal bone) (from Greek karpos, “wrist”). The carpal tunnel is a small passage almost completely surrounded by the carpal bones. On the inner, or palm, side of the wrist, the tunnel is enclosed by a tight band of fibrous tissue called the transverse carpal ligament. Through the tunnel run the median nerve, several blood vessels, and nine finger flexor tendons. The tendons are rodlike structures that transmit forces from muscles in the forearm to the fingers and enable the fingers to close, as when making a fist.During movements of the fingers and wrist, the finger flexor tendons rub against the walls of the carpal tunnel and the median nerve itself. Although the tendons are lubricated by a special tendon lining and by synovial fluid, certain repetitive movements, especially in combination with forceful gripping, may cause swelling of the tendons or the sheaths surrounding them. Because there is little room for expansion within the tight confinement of the carpal tunnel, the result of swelling is that the softest tissues—the median nerve and blood vessels—become compressed or pinched. This pressure causes the numbness, tingling, and pain in the wrist and hand that are the primary symptoms of CTS. If pressure on the median nerve increases, affected individuals may experience a temporary loss of control of some of the hand muscles and difficulties in picking up or holding objects. They may also be awakened at night by pain in the hand.CTS can occur in individuals who do repeated, forceful gripping and grasping hand motions—as in the use of clippers, pliers, or power drills—as a result of stress over the base of the palm, where the median nerve is protected only by the 3-mm- (0.1-inch-) thick transverse carpal ligament. Leaning the wrists on a desk or table while operating a computer can also place excessive pressure on the median nerve and may result in inflammation of the tendons and tissues surrounding the nerve. However, not all cases of CTS are work-related. Illnesses that cause tissue inflammation—for example, arthritis, gout, hypothyroidism, or diabetes mellitus—may affect the median nerve within the carpal tunnel. Swelling and bleeding associated with a fracture of the wrist may also put undue pressure on the nerve.For cases of CTS caused by non-work-related problems, treatment is aimed at the underlying condition. If a case is caused by repetitive stress, then avoiding or reducing the activity responsible for the syndrome will often rapidly alleviate the symptoms. Frequent resting of the hand and recourse to stretching exercises for the hands, elbows, shoulders, and neck muscles will decrease symptoms over a period of time. The wearing of a brace or splint will support the wrist, relieve overworked wrist structures, and help to prevent reinjury of healing tissues. The taking of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications such as aspirin or ibuprofen will frequently reduce swelling of the tendon sheaths. More-serious cases can be relieved immediately by the injection of prescription steroidal drugs. surgery is also sometimes necessary to correct the condition. Whether done as a traditional open incision or as less-invasive endoscopy, the surgery aims to relieve pressure within the carpal tunnel by cutting the transverse carpal ligament. Surgery can be performed on an outpatient basis, but healing and recovery can take weeks or months.
* * *
Look at other dictionaries:
Carpal tunnel syndrome — Classification and external resources Transverse section at the wrist. The median nerve is colored yellow. The carpal tunnel consists of the bones and flexor retinaculum. ICD 1 … Wikipedia
carpal tunnel syndrome — n a condition caused by compression of the median nerve in the carpal tunnel and characterized esp. by weakness, pain, and disturbances of sensation in the hand and fingers abbr. CTS * * * an entrapment neuropathy characterized by pain and… … Medical dictionary
carpal tunnel syndrome — UK US noun [C] (also carpal tunnel) ► HR a medical condition causing pain and weakness in the hand and arm, caused by repeated pressure on a nerve in the wrist: »An assembly line worker who has carpal tunnel syndrome may be able to do certain… … Financial and business terms
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome — Album par Kid Koala Sortie Février 2000 Durée 37:50 Genre Hip hop/Turntablism Producteur Bullfrog Label … Wikipédia en Français
carpal tunnel syndrome — n. a medical condition that is characterized by pain, numbness, etc. in the wrist, palm, fingers, and thumb, usually caused by repetitive hand movement, as in typing or knitting, which swells the tissue surrounding the nerve in a tunnel like… … English World dictionary
carpal tunnel syndrome — [n] wrist irritation repetitive motion disorder, repetitive motion injury, sensorimotor disorder; concept 306 … New thesaurus
carpal tunnel syndrome — noun A form of repetitive stress injury caused by compression of the median nerve travelling through the carpal tunnel. Syn: CTS … Wiktionary
carpal tunnel syndrome — a combination of paraesthesiae (pins and needles), numbness, and pain affecting all of the hand except the little finger and half of the ring finger. There may be weakness of the thumb due to wasting of the thenar eminence. It is caused by… … Medical dictionary
carpal tunnel syndrome — A man who rode in a carpool felt sick whenever they passed under a certain tunnel. His doctor diagnosed this as carpool tunnel syndrome … English expressions
carpal tunnel syndrome — a combination of paraesthesiae (pins and needles), numbness, and pain in the hand, usually affecting the thumb, index, and middle fingers. The symptoms are usually worse at night, and in longstanding cases there may be weakness of grip due to… … The new mediacal dictionary