Carpal tunnel syndrome is a painful condition affecting the hand and wrist. The carpal tunnel is a narrow passageway made up of bones and ligaments at the base of your hand. This tunnel contains the median nerve and tendons of the thumb and fingers. The tendons connect your muscles to your bones while the median nerve provides sensation and feeling to the fingers and hand.
Only the fingers served by the median nerve - the thumb, the index and middle fingers, and part of the ring finger are affected by carpal tunnel syndrome. The median nerve carries signals from the brain to control the feeling and action of the fingers and hand. It allows you to feel temperature, pain, numbness, tingling, clumsiness and controls sweating of the hand.
When ligaments and tendons in the carpal tunnel become swollen and inflamed, they squeeze against the median nerve. This type of pressure on the nerve can injure the hand causing pain or numbness. Sometimes carpal tunnel syndrome can even be triggered by your job and people with this condition often experience difficulty performing simple functions such as fastening buttons, turning keys or unscrewing bottle tops.