Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Hand FAQ


I read in a magazine that if you press on a certain part of your wrist and if it hurts, you have carpal tunnel syndrome. I don't have symptoms, but it does hurt when I press, so should I see the doctor to catch it early?


Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the median nerve that passes through the carpal tunnel in your wrist becomes pinched or pressed. It's usually caused by repetitive motions in the wrist, that can cause swelling or scarring, which then causes the pressure. To be diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome, doctors look for you to be experiencing pain or discomfort (numbness, pins and needles) in your hand and/or wrist, pain that wakes you at night, and loss of sensation to the thumb and lower part of the hand. The doctor can also do two tests: the Phalen test, which involves pushing back your hand for 60 seconds, perhaps triggering the pain, and the Tinel sign, which involves tapping along the median nerve on the wrist to see if this worsens the tingling or pain. If you have a positive Tinel sign (meaning it does cause pain), it is possible that you have carpal tunnel syndrome, but if you don't have any of the other symptoms, it's also possible that you don't. If you are concerned, you should speak to your doctor the next time you have an appointment. Hyun Sik Gong, MD, PhD, et al. Clinical Features Influencing the Patient-Based Outcome After Carpal Tunnel Release. In The Journal of Hand Surgery. November 2008. Vol. 33. No. 9. Pp. 1512-1516.

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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