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What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Carpal tunnel syndrome happens when pressure builds up in the wrist in the space called the carpal tunnel. This is where the median nerve and nine tendons pass from the forearm into the hand. Essentially, carpal tunnel syndrome is a pinched nerve in the wrist.

Causes

There are several ways Carpal tunnel syndrome can occur:

  • arthritis
  • fractures
  • joint dislocations
  • fluid retention during pregnancy
  • swelling of the lining of the flexor tendons

Signs and Symptoms

  • pain
  • numbness
  • weak grip
  • tingling
  • occasional clumsiness
  • tendency to drop things

What is Cubital Tunnel Syndrome?

Cubital tunnel syndrome happens when pressure or stretching the ulnar nerve (also known as the "funny bone") results in numbness or tingling of the ring and small fingers, pain in forearm and/or weakness of the hand.

Causes

  • Pressure - this nerve has very little padding over it. Direct pressure can press the nerve, causing the arm and hand to "fall asleep"
  • Stretching - bending the elbow for an extended period of time can stretch the nerve behind the elbow, often happening during sleep.
  • Anatomy - as the elbow is moved, the ulnar nerve can snap back and forth over a bony bump. Repeated snapping can irritate the nerve.

Signs and Symptoms

  • pain
  • loss of sensation
  • tingling
  • weakness