New Evidence for Cause of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome -- MEDICA - World Forum for Medicine

The researchers present data which suggests that the carpal tunnel syndrome disease process begins with a shearing injury. As the injury heals, the resulting scar tissue impedes the sliding motion of the tendon, compresses the median nerve, cuts off the nerve's blood supply and eventually leads to the pressure buildup characteristic of carpal tunnel syndrome, a condition that affects an estimated five percent of adults. The end result of this process is the familiar carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms of hand pain, numbness and tingling associated with carpal tunnel syndrome.

The Mayo research may offer an explanation for the cause of carpal tunnel syndrome. Although carpal tunnel syndrome is a well-recognized condition, in most cases the specific cause has been unknown. What is well known is that a pressure buildup in the carpal tunnel affects the circulation nourishing the nerves, which can lead to pain, numbness and tingling. The work shows that the tissue closest to the tendon is the most disturbed, thus providing circumstantial evidence to support the presence of a shearing injury in carpal tunnel patients that is not present in individuals without the condition

"The idea is that if we can identify the sequence of events that lead to carpal tunnel syndrome, we can design more effective interventions to prevent or reverse it," according to Peter Amadio, M.D., the Mayo Clinic orthopedic surgeon who led the NIH-funded research team. The study did not specifically probe the cause of the shearing injuries, but Dr. Amadio says the team is researching the role of trauma or stress to the tissue lining from repeated finger movements. "Such shearing injuries could be the result of marked or repetitive differential motion of adjacent digits, and may support the hypothesis of a traumatic cause for carpal tunnel syndrome," he says.; Source: Mayo Clinic