Most people have heard of carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS). Many of us remain oblivious to two conditions that are often misdiagnosed as carpal tunnel syndrome. In this article, we will delve into the details and uncover the answers about these two conditions frequently mistaken for carpal tunnel syndrome
Defining Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition affecting the hand and arm. It results from the median nerve’s compression as it travels through the carpal tunnel in the wrist. Symptoms typically include pain, numbness, and tingling.
Two conditions that are often misdiagnosed as carpal tunnel syndrome
The two conditions often misdiagnosed as carpal tunnel syndromes are Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS) and Cubital Tunnel Syndrome (CuTS)
Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS)
TOS, a condition presenting neck and shoulder pain, finger numbness and tingling, and weak grip, arises from the thoracic outlet’s narrowing. Located between your collarbone and first rib, this spot can compress nerves and blood vessels, resulting in CTS-like symptoms
What leads to the frequent misdiagnosis of TOS as CTS?
TOS shares several symptoms with CTS, including numbness, tingling, and pain in the hands and fingers. These shared symptoms often lead to misdiagnosis.
Cubital Tunnel Syndrome (CuTS)
Conversely, Cubital Tunnel Syndrome (CuTS) arises due to increased pressure on the ulnar nerve at the elbow. The symptoms include numbness and tingling in the hand, particularly the ring and small fingers, and weak grip strength.
The Importance of Correct Diagnosis
The correct diagnosis is crucial as treatment varies. For example, CTS might require wrist splinting or surgery, while TOS often responds to physical therapy and postural changes. CuTS, however, might necessitate avoiding pressure on the elbow or surgery in severe cases.
Knowledge is key in healthcare. When you gain awareness of these two conditions often misdiagnosed as carpal tunnel syndrome, you can actively engage in more informed discussions with your healthcare provider. Remember, accurate diagnosis is the first step towards effective treatment.