The carpal tunnel refers to the route of nerves through the cluster of bones in the wrist and palm. In carpel tunnel syndrome, repetitive finger and wrist movements required for work or hobbies can cause inflammation and thickening of ligaments or tendons, which then trap the nerves causing symptoms such as: tingling sensation, shooting pain, aching, numbness and weakness in the fingers, hands, wrists and/or arms. Deterioration of the condition may eventually produce loss of coordination and grip strength.
Carpal tunnel syndrome sufferers number 2 million in the USA, and their affliction costs about $20 billion per year. The chance of developing it is about 10%. Treatments include painkillers, improving posture and computer position, exercises, wrist braces and splints, steroid injections into the joint and, as a last resort, surgery to "release" the ligament that runs through the tunnel and puts pressure on nerves. Vitamin B6 has been noted to sometimes help.
An Italian study concluded that the occurrence of carpal tunnel syndrome in the male population is probably underestimated. This is because men complained less of discomfort and had better hand function than women, but actually had more severe impairment.