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Carpal tunnel syndrome

overview

Carpal tunnel syndrome is where pressure on a nerve in your wrist causes pain and numbness in your hand and fingers.

Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome include pain, numbness, tingling or weakness in your fingers, hand or arm.

Resting your hand and supporting it with a wrist splint can help ease carpal tunnel syndrome. Some people need steroid injections or surgery.

Carpal tunnel syndrome happens when the carpal tunnel inside your wrist swells and squeezes a nerve. It can be caused by repetitive hand movements.

Read more on the NHS website.

Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome include pain, numbness, tingling or weakness in your fingers, hand or arm.

Check if you have carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS)

The symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome include:

These symptoms often start slowly and come and go. They're usually worse at night.

Read more on the NHS website.

Resting your hand and supporting it with a wrist splint can help ease carpal tunnel syndrome. Some people need steroid injections or surgery.

Self-care

CTS sometimes clears up by itself in a few months, particularly if you have it because you're pregnant.

Wear a wrist splint

A wrist splint is something you wear on your hand to keep your wrist straight. It helps to relieve pressure on the nerve.

You wear it at night while you sleep. You'll have to wear a splint for at least 4 weeks before you start to feel better.

You can buy wrist splints online or from pharmacies.

Stop or cut down on things that may be causing it

Stop or cut down on anything that causes you to frequently bend your wrist or grip hard, such as using vibrating tools for work or playing an instrument.

Painkillers

Painkillers like paracetamol or ibuprofen may offer short-term relief from carpal tunnel pain.

But there's little evidence to say they can treat the cause of CTS, so it's important not to rely on them.

Hand exercises

There's a small amount of evidence to suggest hand exercises help ease the symptoms of CTS.

Medical treatments

If a wrist splint does not help, your GP might recommend a steroid injection into your wrist. This brings down swelling around the nerve, easing the symptoms of CTS.

Steroid injections are not always a cure. CTS can come back after a few months and you may need another injection.

Carpal tunnel syndrome surgery

If your CTS is getting worse and other treatments have not worked, your GP might refer you to a specialist to discuss surgery.

Surgery usually cures CTS. You and your specialist will decide together if it's the right treatment for you.

An injection numbs your wrist so you do not feel pain (local anaesthetic) and a small cut is made in your hand. The carpal tunnel inside your wrist is cut so it no longer puts pressure on the nerve.

The operation takes around 20 minutes and you do not have to stay in hospital overnight.

It can take a month after the operation to get back to normal activities.

Read more on the NHS website.

Carpal tunnel syndrome happens when the carpal tunnel inside your wrist swells and squeezes a nerve. It can be caused by repetitive hand movements.

Read more on the NHS website.