Posted on 6-11-2002
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons has issued tips
carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS), one of the most common reasons
for hand and
wrist pain, caused by repetitive stress injury.
CTS occurs when there is pressure on the median nerve, one of
nerves that supply sensation to the thumb, index, middle, and
of the hand. When tissues in the carpal tunnel become inflamed
from overuse or other causes, they press on the median nerve,
pain and numbness in the hand.
*Avoid activities requiring excessive up-and-down and side-to-side
movements of the wrist.
*Position your hands properly while working. The arm, wrist,
and hand must
remain in a straight line; bending can cause friction that can
inflammation. In other words, wrists should be parallel, and
be at a 90 degree angle to your desk, keyboard, or work table.
*Take frequent short breaks from your activity; stand up, walk
*Ask your orthopaedic surgeon about wrist splints to limit wrist
*Avoid direct pressure on the heel of the hand, such as pushups
hard on seat surface to rise from a chair.
*Do not wear restrictive watchbands or jewelry or clothes with
*Learn to use the computer mouse sensibly.
-- Choose a mouse that allows you to work with an open relaxed
-- Don't squeeze or grip the mouse between your thumb and little
-- Don't twist the mouse side-to-side; move the mouse with the
-- Don't use a wrist rest; this doubles the pressure inside
the carpal tunnel.
-- Keep the mouse close to the keyboard; don't stretch out to
the side of
"To prevent serious injury and maybe permanent damage, you should
prompt attention to the first twinges of pain or discomfort,"
Vernon T. Tolo, MD, president of the American Academy of Orthopaedic
surgeons and pediatric orthopaedic surgeon at Children's Hospital
"However, wrist pain may not necessarily mean carpal tunnel
warns Dr. Tolo. "There are other conditions that may cause these
and it is important that an orthopaedic surgeon evaluate any
wrist pain to
rule out other causes."