The carpal tunnel is the area under a ligament (a tough, elastic band of tissue that connects bones and organs in place) in front of the wrist. The median nerve, which passes through the carpal tunnel, supplies the thumb side of the hand. Repetitive movements of the hand and wrist can cause inflammation of structures (such as tendons and their coverings) that surround the median nerve. The inflammation may compress this nerve, producing numbness, tingling, and pain in the first three fingers and the thumb side of the hand - a condition known as carpal tunnel syndrome.
1. flexor retinaculum (the ligament)
2. tendon sheaths
3. tendons of the muscle
4. median nerve
5. carpal tunnel
Illustration provided by: Leslie Laurien, MSMI