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Guide to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

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Updated May 23, 2014

2 of 10

Part 2 of 10 - What Are the Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Symptoms

Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome usually start gradually, with frequent burning, tingling, or itching numbness in the palm of the hand and the fingers, especially the thumb and the index and middle fingers. Some carpal tunnel sufferers say their fingers feel useless and swollen, even though little or no swelling is apparent.

The symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome often first appear in one or both hands during the night, since many people sleep with flexed wrists.

A person with carpal tunnel syndrome may wake up feeling the need to "shake out" the hand or wrist.

When Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Symptoms Worsen

As symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome worsen, people might feel tingling during the day. Decreased grip strength may make it difficult to:

  • form a fist
  • grasp small objects
  • perform other manual tasks

In chronic and/or untreated cases of carpal tunnel syndrome, the muscles at the base of the thumb may waste away. Some people are unable to tell between hot and cold by touch.

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