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The Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists

Causes Of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal Tunnel

Working at your desk? Tingling or Numbness in your hand and wrist? Could be Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS).

CTS is a common condition caused by compression of a key nerve in the wrist. It is slightly more common in women than men and people who type on a keyboard all day at work or use their wrists a lot at work are at high risk of developing CTS. It occurs when the median nerve, which runs from the forearm in to the wrist and hand becomes pressed or squeezed at the wrist.

The median nerve controls sensation to the palm of your hand and to your thumb, index and middle fingers. Numbness in these areas which are progressively getting worse is a good indicator that you may have CTS. Other symptoms (which usually start gradually) may include burning sensation, pain, tingling and itching in this area. People can also complain of the area feeling swollen even though there is no apparent swelling. If left untreated, grip strength can decrease and muscle wastage in the area can occur.


Physiotherapy can greatly improve symptoms by stretching and strengthening structures. Devices such as easy to use wrist splints worn at night to keep the wrists straight can also be very effective.

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