Carpal tunnel syndrome can be associated with any condition that causes pressure on the median nerve at the wrist. Some common conditions that can lead to CTS include obesity, hypothyroidism, arthritis, diabetes, prediabetes (impaired glucose tolerance), and trauma. Genetics can also play a role.
Numbness and paresthesias in the median nerve distribution are the hallmark neuropathic symptoms (NS) of carpal tunnel entrapment syndrome. Weakness and atrophy of the thumb muscles may occur if the condition remains untreated, because the muscles are not receiving sufficient nerve stimulation.
People with CTS experience numbness, tingling, or burning sensations in the thumb and fingers, in particular the index and middle fingers and radial half of the ring finger, because these receive their sensory and motor function (muscle control) from the median nerve. Ache and discomfort can possibly be felt more proximally in the forearm or even the upper arm. Less-specific symptoms may include pain in the wrists or hands, loss of grip strength, and loss of manual dexterity.