Prevalence of carpal tunnel syndrome in pregnant women



Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a frequent complication of pregnancy, with a prevalence reported as high as 62%. The most typical symptoms are numbness and tingling in the thumb, index finger, middle finger, and radial half of the ring finger. Other common manifestations include burning dysesthetic wrist pain, as well as the loss of grip strength and dexterity. Proximal radiation along the volar forearm, medial arm, and shoulder, while not as common, is not unusual. Symptoms are often worse at night and can be exacerbated by forceful activity and extreme wrist positions. It can be diagnosed to a high degree of specificity via history and physical examination. Median nerve function is impaired in virtually all pregnant women during the third trimester, even in the absence of symptoms. Treatment is symptomatic and usually consists of activity modification, splinting, edema control, and, if necessary, steroid injections. While most women experience symptomatic improvement following delivery, a significant percentage may still have some complaints up to at least 3 years post-partum and continue to wear splints. A high level of vigilance should be maintained in the management of these patients.

Ablove, Robert H Ablove, Tova S eng Review WMJ. 2009 Jul;108(4):194-6.