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Mayo Clinic researchers find evidence for traumatic cause of carpal tunnel syndrome

ROCHESTER, Minn. -- New Mayo Clinic research suggests that a shearing injury of the tissue that lines the tendons within the carpal tunnel may cause carpal tunnel syndrome, a debilitating condition of the wrist and hand. If validated by further research, Mayo's study comparing electron microscope images of carpal tunnel syndrome tissue with those from normal tissue could lead to earlier diagnosis and possibly better treatments for preventing or reversing carpal tunnel syndrome.

The study appears in the November issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (http://www.plasreconsurg.com/pt/re/prs/currenttoc.htm;jsessionid=FLyBWMS3hFd55wPBnpD339LCnXps4g1trvBJ0Qc6HkNFlhkzLLnK!-1434154485!-949856145!8091!-1).

In the study, the Mayo researchers present data which suggest 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.

Significance of the Mayo Clinic Research

The Mayo research offers 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 question Mayo researchers explored was: What leads to the pressure buildup? Their
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Contact: Amy Reyes
newsbureau@mayo.edu
507-284-5005
Mayo Clinic
9-Nov-2006


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