Carpal Tunnel Syndrome | Overview

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What is carpal tunnel syndrome?

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a painful disorder of the wrist and hand.

The carpal tunnel is a narrow tunnel formed by the bones and other tissues of your wrist. This tunnel protects your median nerve. The median nerve helps you move your thumbs and the first 3 fingers on each hand.

Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when other tissues in the carpal tunnel (such as ligaments and tendons) get swollen or inflamed and press against the median nerve. That pressure can make part of your hand hurt or feel numb.

Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff

Reviewed/Updated: 02/14
Created: 01/96

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