Carpal Tunnel Syndrome - Symptoms
The most common symptoms of
carpal tunnel syndrome are tingling, numbness,
weakness, or pain felt in the fingers or, less commonly, in the palm. Symptoms
most often occur in the parts of the hand supplied by the
median nerve: the thumb, index finger, middle finger,
and half of the ring finger. If your little finger is not affected, this may be
a sign that the condition is carpal tunnel syndrome, because the little finger
is usually controlled by a different nerve than the thumb and other fingers.
See a picture of
areas affected in the hand .
The symptoms of carpal tunnel
syndrome often occur in both hands, but symptoms are usually worse in one hand
than the other. You may first notice symptoms at night. People with carpal
tunnel syndrome can usually fall asleep, but pain or numbness may wake them up.
Mild carpal tunnel symptoms primarily affect the hand and
sometimes the forearm, but they can radiate up to the shoulder. Symptoms
- Numbness or pain in your hand, forearm, or
wrist that awakens you at night. (Shaking or moving your fingers may ease this
numbness and pain.)
- Occasional tingling, numbness,
"pins-and-needles" sensation, or pain. The feeling is similar to your hand
- Numbness or pain that gets worse while you are
using your hand or wrist, especially when gripping an object with your hand or
bending (flexing) your wrist.
- Occasional aching pain in your
forearm between your elbow and wrist.
- Stiffness in your fingers when you get up in the morning.
With moderate or severe carpal tunnel symptoms, you may
have numbness or reduced strength and grip in your fingers, thumb, or hand. It
may be difficult to:
- Do simple hand movements, such as brushing your
hair or holding a fork. You may accidentally drop objects.
- Pinch an
object between your thumb and first finger (loss of pinch
- Use your thumb while doing simple tasks such as opening
a jar or using a screwdriver. With long-lasting carpal tunnel syndrome, the
thumb muscles can get smaller and weaker (atrophy).
Not all pain in the wrist or hand is caused by carpal
tunnel syndrome. There are many
other conditions with similar symptoms.