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Symptoms Experienced by Patients with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Sanjoy K. Gupta and Timothy J. Benstead

Abstract: Background: Patients with carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) sometimes report sensory symptoms outside the median nerve distribution. This study was designed to provide a more detailed assessment of these symptoms. Methods: Patients with clinical suspicion of upper limb neuromuscular lesions were divided into those with electrodiagnostic (EDX) evidence of CTS, and those without. CTS patients with superimposed nerve abnormalities were excluded. Motor and sensory symptoms were assessed in the exclusive CTS patients. Results: Over 50% of patients with exclusive CTS reported tingling or numbness over the whole hand, ulnar or radial nerve distributions. Some patients reported symptoms proximal to the wrist. Sensory signs did not extend beyond the median nerve distribution. Numbness and nocturnal pain were predictive of positive EDX evidence of CTS. Conclusions: Sensory symptoms outside the distribution of the median nerve are common in CTS. For enhanced sensitivity in diagnosis it is useful to be aware of these "atypical" symptoms. Reports of numbness and nocturnal pain are strong indicators of CTS.



Can. J. Neurol. Sci. 1997; 24: 338-342


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