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Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome is no longer an injury that only adults get. With text messaging and video game-playing on the rise, more and more kids and teens are getting afflicted with CTS.

What Is It?

The carpal tunnel is a narrow tunnel formed by the bones and tissues of your wrist. This tunnel protects your median nerve, which gives you feeling in your thumb, index, middle and ring fingers. Pain occurs if ligaments and tendons in the carpal tunnel get swollen or inflamed, pressing on the median nerve and leading to carpal tunnel syndrome.

What Are the Causes?

Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by repetitively bending and extending your wrist, like when you're playing Guitar Hero for five hours straight, text messaging, typing on a computer keyboard, using the mouse, or playing a musical instrument. CTS can also be caused by an injury to your wrist, such as a fracture.

What Are the Symptoms?

  • Pain in wrist, hand, arm
  • Tingling in wrist, hand, arm
  • Numbness in hands and fingers
  • Weakness in wrist, hand, arm
  • Loss of hand grip strength
  • Poor circulation

How Is It Treated?

There are a number of ways to treat CTS. You could ice your wrist, or wear a brace or splint that keeps the wrist straight. Your doctor could also prescribe anti-inflammatory medications like aspirin or ibuprofen, or recommend physiotherapy like hand, wrist and finger exercises that stretch out your muscles. In more serious cases, surgery is necessary to cut away the ligaments that are pressing on the median nerve. You'll get the normal use of your wrist and hand back a few weeks to a few months after the surgery.

Did You Know?

  • No one texts more than an Asian teenager. In fact, Korean teens aged 15 to 19 send an average of 60.1 text messages a day, which works out to about 2,000 texts a month!
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