Carpal tunnel syndrome is a painful, progressive condition that occurs when the median nerve, which runs from the forearm into the hand, becomes pressed or squeezed at the wrist. Symptoms usually start gradually with pain, weakness or numbness in the hand and wrist and may then begin radiating up the arm. Patients may experience a tingling sensation and decreased grip strength. In some cases no direct cause of the syndrome can be identified; however, it is especially common in those performing assembly line work or certain repetitive tasks. Carpal tunnel syndrome is the most common and widely known of the entrapment neuropathies in which the body’s peripheral nerves are compressed or traumatized.


Sprains and strains are both minor injuries occurring at joints where ligaments connect bone to bone and tendons connect bone to muscles. A sprain is an injury to ligaments, the thick, tough, fibrous tissue that connects bones. Ligaments can be sprained by being stretched too far from their normal position under conditions such as excessive exercise, heavy lifting, repetitive motion or minor impacts. A strain is an injury to muscles or tendons. When muscles contract they pull on tendons, which in turn are connected to bone. A strain may result if the muscle is stretched too far or if it is stretched while contracting. Strains most often occur when a joint is pulled, twisted or jerked suddenly. These soft-tissue injuries exhibit symptoms of redness, swelling, surface bruising, reduced mobility and a dull, throbbing ache or sharp, cramping pain.