What is CTS?

22 August 2017

Probably one of the most common wrist conditions, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) affects over a third of us during one point in our lives. Described as a tingling, numbness or ache in our fingers and hands, CTS is brought on by doing activities that frequently require bending the wrist, and pain can be known to worsen at night. To get you clued up about the effects of CTS and how you can battle it, here at Wrist Supports we have put together a guide detailing all you need to know.

What is CTS?

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, often abbreviated to CTS, is a condition where the median nerve gets trapped when it passes through the carpal tunnel, located in the wrist. The median nerve plays a vital part in the hand, as it controls some of the muscles that move the thumb, and it sends message to the brain about sensations felt in your fingers. Women are thought to be more likely to develop CTS, and though it affects people of all ages, it is more common in those over 40 years old.

Learn more about Carpal Tunnel Sydrome with our CTS infographic.

What are the Symptoms of CTS?

It may not be immediately evident that you have CTS, however some common symptoms to look out for are:

  • numb hands
  • thumb weakness or difficulty gripping
  • dull aches in your arm, hand or fingers
  • pins and needles in your hand (otherwise know as paraethesia)

Symptoms for CTS are usually concentrated in the thumb, index and middle fingers, however it can often feel like the whole hand is affected. You may not notice the problem at all in the daytime until you have to do certain activities, such as typing, sewing or playing an instrument, and pain can often be worse at night or first thing in the morning.

CTS starts in the wrist but affects the rest of the hand, including the thumb, index and middle fingers

CTS starts at the wrist but affects the rest of the hand, including the thumb, index and middle fingers

What Causes CTS?

In many cases, there isn't an obvious cause to CTS, as the median nerve is very sensitive to pressure, so it could be onset by anything. Some common causes include:

  • hobbies or activities that require repeatedly bending your wrist
  • being overweight
  • hormonal changes during pregnancy
  • using vibrating tools such as pneumatic drills
  • pre-existing conditions such as arthritis or diabetes
  • previous injury to the wrist

How Can I Treat CTS?

In most cases, CTS can be easily treated at home. The first step is to cut down or completely stop doing anything that requires you to frequently bend your wrist. Wearing a wrist splint to keep your wrist straight helps to relieve pressure on the median nerve, and alternative treatments such as yoga and acupuncture are also said to ease the pain of CTS.

In severe cases where CTS gets worse and other treatments haven't worked, your doctor may refer you to a specialist to discuss the possibility of surgery and whether it is the best option for you. A CTS operation only takes 20 minutes and takes a month to get back to your normal routine.

Daily Living for CTS with Wrist Supports

Wearing a wrist brace is by far the best and most cost-effective course of action to take in the event of CTS. A resting brace is ideal to keep your wrist straight if the pain is worse at night, whereas a working splint that keeps your wrist slightly extended (bent back) can be worn if pain is brought on by certain activities.

Here at Wrist Supports, there is no end to the amount of supports, splints and braces we offer specifically for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Click the button below to browse our highly comprehensive range, and say goodbye to CTS in no time!

Do you suffer from CTS? Share your experience with us in comments below, or reach out on Facebook or Twitter.

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