Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition in which compression of the median nerve in the wrist causes pain, tingling, numbness or weakness in the palm side of the hand and fingers. More severe cases of the condition can lead to permanent muscle damage.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by a compression of the median nerve, which travels from the wrist into the hand in a narrow space called the carpal tunnel, surrounded by ligaments and bone. Anything that causes swelling in this area can cause compression of the nerve. This occurs most often in those who perform certain repetitive activities for work or leisure that involve the wrist and hand, including assembly line work, typing, writing, painting, sewing, using hand tools, playing musical instruments, or playing certain racket sports. There are also a number of medical conditions that make individuals more likely to suffer from the condition, including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure, and other metabolic disorders. Bone fractures within the wrist or hand also make it more likely that carpal tunnel syndrome will develop.Women are three times more likely than men to develop the condition.
De Quervain’s tenosynovitis is a condition in which the tendons on the inside of the wrist near the base of the thumb are inflamed (the extensor pollicis brevis and the abductor pollicis longus), causing pain with certain wrist and thumb movements.
De Quervain’s tenosynovitis is primarily caused by repetitive overuse of the wrist or thumb, causing the sheath around the tendons in that area to become inflamed. The motion of pinching the thumb while moving the wrist from side to side is especially likely to cause inflammation leading to the condition. De Quervain’s tenosynovitis can also be caused by a trauma to the wrist that causes inflammation or scar tissue to develop. Certain medical conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, can also lead to the condition.
A wrist/hand sprain or strain involves an injury to the soft tissues of the wrist, hand or fingers. Sprains involve injury to ligaments (the bands of tissue that connect bones together) within the joint and commonly occur in the wrist or fingers. Strains refer to injuries of muscles and tendons and are less likely to occur than sprains in this region.
Most wrist or hand sprains occur from an accident or traumatic impact, such as a fall or direct and forceful contact, causing the hand or wrist to twist sharply or bend in an unnatural motion. Wrist and finger sprains are common injuries due to the fact that when an individual slips or falls, the natural reaction is to put a hand out to stop the fall and when this occurs, the force of the impact can bend the wrist or finger in such a way that the ligaments stretch or tear. Strains can also occur from a sudden impact such as a fall, but are also likely to occur due to repetitive overuse, such as in the case of sports or occupations that require constant gripping of objects or a repeated hand or wrist motion.