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Do I have carpal tunnel syndrome?

21 August 2023

Each year, an estimated 200,000 patients see their general practitioner (GP) with symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.

Carpal tunnel is a common condition that occurs in approximately two to three per cent of the general population. 

Women are three times more likely to experience the condition than men and the average age of patients is generally 40 to 50 years. 

Symptoms of carpal tunnel

Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the median nerve is compressed in the carpal tunnel. 

The symptoms can be very similar to symptoms experienced in other conditions and as such, carpal tunnel is sometimes misdiagnosed.

The classic symptoms of carpal tunnel include: 

  • numbness and tingling (pins and needles) in the hand/s 
  • night time pain or numbness, interrupting sleep
  • weakness when gripping with hand/s
  • swollen feeling in the fingers.

Investigation and diagnosis

If you feel any of the above symptoms, it is recommended you visit your GP. 

The GP may provide a referral for a scan to diagnose the symptoms and rule out potential causes. 

You may also be referred for an examination by an orthopaedic surgeon. 

Management of carpal tunnel syndrome

Management of carpal tunnel syndrome depends on the severity and duration of the symptoms. 

It can vary from rest, modifying activities, wearing a splint, cortisone injection and/or surgery. 

If you are required to have surgery, your orthopaedic surgeon will provide information about what to expect and post-surgery care.

For more information about our orthopaedic surgeons, please visit Find a Specialist.

The medical information in this article is of a general educational nature only. It should not be relied on to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or as a substitute for the specific advice of a health professional. 

Orthopaedic Surgeon Dr Wael Chiri
Dr Wael Chiri - Orthopaedic surgeon

Dr Wael Chiri is a specialist shoulder, elbow, wrist and hand surgeon who is determined to achieve the best outcome for his patients. He is the surgeon involved with the Perth Carpal Tunnel Clinic. He completed his medical degree at the University of Western Australia in 2009 and undertook his orthopaedic surgical training in Perth from 2016 to 2020. Dr Chiri then completed a Hand and Upper Limb Postgraduate Fellowship with one of the international leaders in upper limb surgery, Professor Gregory Bain in Adelaide, South Australia.