Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Numbness in the fingers may be tunnelling your ability.

The palm side of the wrist contains nine tendons and a nerve. These tissues are housed by the carpal bones in the wrist and a ligament that spans across the wrist, protecting the tendons and nerve as they travel into the hand. These structures create the carpal tunnel.

What is it?

Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) include pain, numbness or pins and needles extending from the thumb to the ring finger. CTS symptoms present from compression on the median nerve as it travels through the carpal tunnel, located at the base of the palm, near the wrist. Symptoms can present during the night and worsen in the morning. With no treatment, pain can worsen, extending up into the arm and shoulder. People with CTS will also describe weakness when gripping objects, opening doors etc. CTS can be diagnosed with specific tests on assessment in clinic.

Physiotherapy versus surgery?

The surgery to “fix” CTS involves release of the transverse carpal ligament, which is the ligament that extends across the wrist and provides the roof of the carpal tunnel. Releasing this ligament reduces the friction on the median nerve as it travels through the carpal tunnel. A carpal tunnel release surgery may reduce the symptoms, however, returning to normal lifestyle habits, without strengthening the wrist flexor and extensor muscles, and maintaining good neural mobility may result in the recurrence of the injury.

Treating CTS with physiotherapy can not only relieve your symptoms but can prevent CTS from returning later. As CTS is affected by multiple structures, it is important that each of these are included in treatment appropriately. This includes providing the nerves and tendons that run through the carpal tunnel with appropriate movement techniques, increasing local and global muscle strength and endurance, as well as improving overall function of the wrist and upper body. Target Physio develops individualised management plans for all patients, educating them on their condition and how to strengthen, to allows a safe and active return to their beloved sport or activity.

Click on the exercises below to view a variety of Target Physio's exercise suggestions for CTS.  
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