Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: A Review of Literature

Cureus. 2020 Mar 19;12(3):e7333. doi: 10.7759/cureus.7333.


Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a common medical condition that remains one of the most frequently reported forms of median nerve compression. CTS occurs when the median nerve is squeezed or compressed as it travels through the wrist. The syndrome is characterized by pain in the hand, numbness, and tingling in the distribution of the median nerve. Risk factors for CTS include obesity, monotonous wrist activity, pregnancy, genetic heredity, and rheumatoid inflammation. The diagnosis of CTS is conducted through medical assessments and electrophysiological testing, although idiopathic CTS is the most typical method of diagnosis for patients suffering from these symptoms. The pathophysiology of CTS involves a combination of mechanical trauma, increased pressure, and ischemic damage to the median nerve within the carpal tunnel. The diagnosis of CTS patients requires the respective medical professional to develop a case history associated with the characteristic signs of CTS. In addition, the doctor may question whether the patients use vibratory objects for their tasks, the parts of the arm where the sensations are felt, or if the patient may already have predisposing factors for CTS incidence. During the diagnosis of CTS, it is essential to note that other conditions may also provide similar symptoms to CTS, thus requiring vigorous diagnosis to assert the medical condition of the patients. Doctors use both non-surgical and surgical treatments when addressing CTS. Non-surgical treatments include wrist splinting, change of working position, medications, and the use of alternative non-vibrating equipment at work. On the other hand, surgical methods include open release and endoscopic surgeries. This review of literature has provided an overview of CTS with an emphasis on anatomy, epidemiology, risk factors, pathophysiology, stages of CTS, diagnosis, and management options.

Keywords: carpal tunnel release; carpal tunnel syndrome; clinical features; cts syndrome; diagnostic tools; management.

Publication types

  • Review