|Transverse section across the wrist and digits. (The median nerve is the yellow dot near the center. The carpal tunnel is not labeled, but the circular structure surrounding the median nerve is visible.)|
- This article is about the connective tissue. For the song by Fall Out Boy, see The Carpal Tunnel of Love. For the syndrome, see Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
In the human wrist there is a sheath of tough connective tissue (the flexor retinaculum) which envelops and protects several structures. The carpal tunnel is the space between this sheath (above) and the bones (below) making up the wrist and hand (carpal bones).
- Tendons of the following muscles (not the muscles themselves):
The term 'carpal tunnel' is also used quite commonly to refer to 'carpal tunnel syndrome' which is a condition where the median nerve is compressed within the tunnel and causes pain and/or numbness of the wrist/hand, never proven to be the result of repetitive motion such as painting or typing. It has been shown to be related to obesity, hypothyroidism, diabetes, pregnancy, family history, rheumatoid arthritis and wrist shape. It can be associated with certain fractures of the forearm and wrist. Work relatedness is less than is currently thought by the lay public and by non-hand surgeons. Even work that has high force and high repetitions is only partially related to the development of carpal tunnel syndrome. The carpal tunnel is important because the median nerve can be compressed in cases such as the following:
- Carpal+tunnel at eMedicine Dictionary
- Roche Lexicon - illustrated navigator, at Elsevier 25466.091-1