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Carpal tunnel syndrome develops when the small space that the nerve is traveling in through the rest becomes tight. That tightness occurs as a result of swelling. There are other structures in the carpal tunnel along with the nerve. There are nine tendons plus the median nerve in that very small space. The tendons are surrounded by a structure called synovial tissue, which normally is very thin and supple and glides freely. It encourages those tendons to move back and forth as we move our fingers. However, that synovial tissue is also a potential site for swelling and fluid accumulation. That happens with overuse, it happens with injury, and it happens with medical conditions. Believe it or not, it can also happen as we simply get older. All of those reasons for swelling will eventually be reasons for the median nerve to become compressed in the carpal tunnel syndrome, and that's when people begin to experience symptoms.

Doctor Profile

Kyle Bickel, MD

Hand Surgeon

  • Board Certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery
  • Surgeon & CEO at The Hand Center of San Francisco
  • Clinical Faculty – The University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine

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