Carpal tunnel syndrome is defined as any disorder of the hand that may cause weakness, tingling or numbness. Causes can include pressure applied to the median nerve that runs along the arm, when a person is working or typing and leaning incorrectly on their wrist or arm. As the median nerve controls sensation to the thumb and fingers, when the carpal tunnel has been narrowed, it can cause swelling. Contributing factors include repeated motions with the wrist where work related tasks cause excessive swelling. Symptoms may include numbness or tingling of the hand and/or fingers. Treatment may include physical therapy, splints and possibly surgery to repair the median nerve and improve grip strength. Without surgery, the person may have increased loss of feeling in the fingers and slow nerve impulses leading to a decreased ability to hold and grasp with the affected hand. This can lead to permanent nerve and muscle damage.
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