- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome





Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Three nerves travel down the arm and into the hand to act as the electric cords that supply power to the small muscles in the hand and feeling to the skin. The median nerve travels through the center of the palm and passes through a “tunnel” formed by the carpal or small wrist bones and a thick ligament that acts as the base of the tunnel. The median nerve travels through the tunnel and then forms branches to supply feeling to the thumb, index, middle fingers and half of the ring finger. With nine tendons and the median nerve passing through the small tunnel, anything that reduces the space in the tunnel may compress the median nerve and cause the symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
Swelling in the hand or thickening of the tendons or other soft tissues in the hand may compress the median nerve. This compression, if unrelieved, may cause the nerve to “short out” much as a compressed or bent electrical cord will cause the lights to flicker or go out. Over time, if the nerve remains under pressure, it loses its ability to send signals to the muscles and skin and permanent damage will occur that cannot be corrected by treatment or surgery.

Symptoms

Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) often start with numbness or “pins and needles” (tingling) feeling in the thumb, index and middle fingers. The fingers may “fall asleep” particularly at night when sleeping with the wrist bent. This may cause the sleeper to wake up and “shake” their hand out in order to restore normal feeling in the fingers.
If the problem goes untreated, tingling may occur during the day along with numbness or loss of feeling in the fingers. This numbness can lead to difficulty holding onto small objects and weakness in the thumb due to the muscle’s wasting or shrinking from lack of stimulation.

How a 3-Point Splint Can Help

Splinting the wrist and, at times, the fingers as well, helps decrease the inflammation or swelling that may be filling the tunnel. By holding the wrist in a neutral or straight position, the tunnel is held open decreasing the pressure on the Median Nerve.