Compression of the median nerve at the base of the palm, where it passes near the wrist joint causes carpal tunnel syndrome. This nerve provides sensation to the thumb and most parts of the fingers. It also affects the strength of the muscles at the base of the thumb. If compressed, the nerve may sustain serious damage.
Common symptoms of this condition include numbness and tingling in the hand, especially at night; pain while gripping or holding; and clumsiness in handling objects. The pain may even extend from the hand up into the shoulder.
To initially treat carpal tunnel syndrome, use a splint or brace to allow the wrist to rest. Steroids injected into the carpal canal may also help decrease swelling. Cases that do not respond to non-surgical methods, or are diagnosed late, may eventually require surgery. This is usually done in an outpatient setting under local anesthesia.