Close

We are using cookies to give you the best experience on our site. Cookies are files stored in your browser and are used by most websites to help personalise your web experience.

By continuing to use our website without changing the settings, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

Find out more
For more information, go to www.arthritisresearchuk.org

Carpal tunnel syndrome

Print page Open all Reset all

What is carpal tunnel syndrome?

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common condition in which a nerve is squeezed where it passes through your wrist. This nerve controls muscles that move your thumb and carries information back to your brain about sensations in your thumb and fingers. Read more >

What are the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome?

Symptoms tend to be worse at night and may disturb your sleep. They can include:
  • pain, aching, tingling or numbness in your hand, which is usually worse in your thumb, index and middle fingers
  • an ache in your forearm
Read more >

What causes carpal tunnel syndrome?

In most cases there’s not an obvious cause. However, possible causes include:

  • arthritis of the wrist, particularly rheumatoid arthritis
  • fluid retention – this can affect women during pregnancy
  • an underactive thyroid gland
  • diabetes

There’s more chance of you developing carpal tunnel syndrome if your job places heavy demands on your wrist or if you use vibrating tools.

Read more >

How is carpal tunnel syndrome diagnosed?

Your doctor can diagnose carpal tunnel syndrome by:
  • examining your wrist – your thumb, index and middle finger may be insensitive to a gentle touch or pin prick, or the base of your thumb may show abnormalities or signs of muscle wasting
  • giving you nerve conduction tests
Read more >

What treatments are there for carpal tunnel syndrome?

Treatments for carpal tunnel syndrome include:
  • wearing a resting wrist splint if symptoms are worse at night
  • wearing a working splint if symptoms are brought on by particular activities
  • steroid injections
  • carpal tunnel release surgery if your symptoms carry on despite treatment, or if your hands are weak
Read more >

Self-help and daily living for carpal tunnel syndrome

Try the following self-help tips:
  • Eat a well-balanced diet.
  • Exercise little and often – yoga may be useful.
  • Speak to your employer if you think your work may be causing your symptoms.
Read more >

Donate

Photo of Christine Walker

Give today to help fund research into the cause, treatment and cure of arthritis so that people like Christine can live a pain-free, active life.

Search arthritis information

For more information, go to www.arthritisresearchuk.org/arthritis-information or call 0300 790 0400 to order the complete printed booklet.
Arthritis Research UK fund research into the cause, treatment and cure of arthritis. You can support Arthritis Research UK by volunteering, donating or visiting our shops.