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Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: Definition, Causes, Treatment, Prevention.

1523 words - 6 pages

For months Gary Smith tried to ignore the tingling and numbing feelings he had been experiencing. Once in awhile a piercing sharp pain would shoot through his wrist and up his forearm. Eventually he had gone to the doctors to see what was wrong. The Doctor informed him he had Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. This injury can happen in many different situations but is very common amongst sport injuries. Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs in the wrist and includes the median nerve. This injury originates from the compression of the median nerve and swelling tendons.ANATOMICAL AND PHYSIOLOGICAL DESCRIPTIONIn the wrist there is a band known as the carpal tunnel, which is limited in size. It is also known as the carpal ligament(Appendix, fig 1). The components of the hand that run through the carpal tunnel are tendons and median nerve. The carpal tunnel is formed by the ligament on top and the carp wrist bones on bottom. There are several factors that take or restrict the space within this band, causing pressure against the components. When the median nerve gets compressed or squeezed along with the tendons it causes carpal tunnel syndrome. The median nerve provides sensation to most of the hand except for the little finger. The tendons control the movement of fingers (Appendix, fig 2). This injury is considered a chronic injury if untreated. Therefore it is also an acute injury if surgery is performed (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke,WWW,article). The symptoms of carpal tunnel start out normal and continue to intensify as the nerve and tendons get further compressed. It begins with tingling and numbness in the thumb, index and middle fingers. Frequent burning or itching sensations and loss of grip follows. A radiating pain travels from the wrist up the arm and into the shoulder (Mayo Clinic,WWW,article). If treatment is not performed eventually the thumb and muscles at the base waste away. Hot and cold can not be distinguished by touch as well (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke,WWW,article).MECHANISM OF INJURYThe primary cause of this sport injury is caused by compression of the median nerve. This median nerve is a mixed nerve meaning it has some sensory functions and motor functions. This means it controls movements and feelings in the hand. Compression or squeezing of the median nerve is caused from anything that reduces the needed space in the carpal tunnel. Just general swelling of the wrist, will restrict the space. Repetitive flexing and extending of the wrist causes the tendons to thicken. Spurs and tumors that form in the wrist can also play a factor in the cause of carpal tunnel. The carpal tunnel ligament is sometimes smaller then average. There are other conditions or problems that cause carpal tunnel such as: rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, thyroid disorders, menopause and pregnancy. The exact cause of carpal is not known however all these factors listed above play a role and together cause the "My hand feel...

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