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Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is characterised by localised pain in the hand, wrist and forearm particularly when the body is at rest. The pain is always accompanied by the sensation of burning, numbing or tingling, especially of the thumb, the forefinger and the middle finger and in addition there may be some swelling. If these symptoms occur to you frequently and not just at night, you should see a doctor immediately. You could be suffering from an ailment called carpal tunnel syndrome. There are some circumstances when, during surgical intervention, mistakes are made which may amount to medical negligence. If the outcome of your surgery was less than satisfactory our medical negligence solicitors may be able to assist you in a carpal tunnel injury compensation claim. Our Carpal Tunnel Syndrome solicitors medical negligence compensation claims are risk free and are dealt with on a no win no fee* basis. Contact us for free advice with no obligation.

Median Nerve Compression

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition where the median nerve that passes through the carpal tunnel in the wrist becomes compressed and pinched due to stress and repetitive activities involving the hands. Such repetitive activities include long hours of typing at the computer keyboard, playing video games for hours at end, gardening, operating vibrating mechanical objects, crocheting and knitting, and others. Carpal tunnel syndrome affects women more than it does men.

Restricted Passage

In order to understand carpal tunnel syndrome, you must understand that the carpal tunnel, which is located in the wrist, is a very narrow passage. The median nerve is not the only thing that passes through it; it shares the carpal tunnel with the nine flexor tendons of the hand. Also, in the carpal tunnel, the median nerve is surrounded by bone on three sides, and on the fourth side is a sheath-like material called the flexor retinaculum.


When the wrist is bent or held in a certain position for a prolonged period, or when the tendons that share the carpal tunnel with the median nerve are enlarged, or if the bones of the wrist are fractured or injured, undue pressure is put on the median nerve. This pressure on the median nerve then results in pain, occasional swelling, and a condition called paresthesia, which is the sensation of burning and tingling in the fingers, especially in the thumb, the forefinger and the middle finger. There are some ailments of the wrist that display some characteristics of carpal tunnel syndrome and are thus mistaken for the said ailment. However, the one symptom that differentiates carpal tunnel syndrome from the other conditions that affect the wrist is paresthesia. If paresthesia is absent, the condition cannot be called carpal tunnel syndrome. Carpal tunnel syndrome can also make it difficult for the patient to make a fist and to grip. It is also observed in some cases that the fleshy part of the palm right under the thumb becomes thinner.

Non Surgical Intervention?

In mild cases, carpal tunnel syndrome can be treated through the use of wrist braces and through the application of ergonomics in the workplace. To relieve the patient of pain temporarily, some physicians recommend the injection of steroids. In some instances, the patient is made to undergo physical therapy. In really severe cases, the patient must undergo hand surgery to physically correct the condition causing carpal tunnel syndrome. Hand surgery that is needed to correct carpal tunnel syndrome is often safe and should not give rise to too many complications. However, surgeons sometimes make the mistake of not diagnosing correctly and so hand surgery in these instances aggravates the condition rather than allay it. Errors such as this may make the surgeon liable to pay compensation for medical negligence. If you would like advice at no cost and with no further obligation just contact our medical negligence solicitors.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Solicitors

If you have suffered injury as a result of negligent surgery you will need to discuss the possibility of making a medical negligence compensation claim with a Carpal Tunnel Syndrome solicitor. The effects of personal injury can last a lifetime and it is your legal right to receive compensation for the pain and anguish that you have experienced.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Information

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a relatively common disease that, among other causes, is caused by repetitive motion of the wrist and fingers, particularly when typing or performing certain industrial jobs. The carpal tunnel is a narrow passageway where nerves and tendons pass through from the forearm to the hand. It is bound by ligaments and bones on both sides of the tunnel. When the wrist is moved back and forth repetitively, it causes swelling to the affected areas, pinching off the nerves particularly so there is numbness and pain to the hand.

Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome vary according to the severity of the disease. There is tingling or numbness in the fingers on the hand-particularly the thumb and the first three fingers, sparing the fourth finger and the side of the third finger that is next to the fourth finger. People with carpal tunnel syndrome will shake out the hand to get feeling back to it but eventually the numbness becomes unable to be stopped and is constant.

The pain can often radiate up to the arm and even as high as the shoulder. This happens later in the course of the disease and is usually affecting the palmar aspect of the forearm and upper arm. There is also weakness of the hands, often to the point of dropping things.

The cause of the disease is pressure on the median nerve that passes through the carpal tunnel. The median nerve affects sensation of the hand and the movement of the hand, which is why the condition affects motor function and sensory function. It affects the palm of the hand, the thumb and the fingers as mentioned above.

Contributing to getting carpal tunnel syndrome are arthritic conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, fluid retention in pregnancy, amyloid deposition in the body, thyroid diseases and menopause. Obesity can contribute to the disease and women seem to get it more than men. Some people have a narrower carpal tunnel than others so they have a greater chance of causing damage to the median nerve than others.

Carpal tunnel syndrome is often a work-related condition, especially within industrial jobs, clerical jobs and jobs such as supermarket cashiers, who grab cans and boxes and move them from one place to another all the time without much break. People who use power tools like grinders and chippers or chainsaws will suffer from repetitive injuries more than other people. The vibration alone can trigger the onset of the disease.

Risk factors include gender. Women are three times as likely as men to get carpal tunnel syndrome. Some aspects of carpal tunnel are hereditary and include the shape of one's wrist as defined by your genes. Thyroid conditions, obesity, diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis increase the risk of getting carpal tunnel syndrome. Pregnancy is a risk factor that fortunately gets better after a person is not pregnant.

Doctors will examine you in order to determine whether or not you have the signs of carpal tunnel syndrome. There is increased numbness and pain when flexing the wrist and holding it there. The doctor might tap on the median nerve in order to solicit a response from the individual. Doctors can do nerve conduction studies to show damage to the median nerve if the diagnosis is in question. This is called an electromyogram. Needles are inserted into the areas supplied by the nerve to look for conduction abnormalities. A nerve conduction study is a kind of electromyogram that uses electrodes attached to the skin.

Treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome includes splinting of the wrist so it doesn't bend repetitively. Doctors also subscribe nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications to take down some of the inflammation in the wrist. Steroids can be injected into the wrist to shrink the swelling and to relieve the excess pressure on the nerve.

Surgery is used in cases where nonsurgical methods fail. The surgery, carpal tunnel repair, frees up the median nerve so it isn't so trapped within the bones and tendons. The ligament pressing on the nerve is usually cut and there is often improvement, if not resolution, of the symptoms. If the median nerve is damaged beyond repair, there will be residual damage to the nerve and residual pain and numbness.



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The author of the substantive medical writing on this website is Dr. Christine Traxler MD whose biography can be read here