Two Conditions That Are Often Misdiagnosed As Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

When family or acquaintances complain of discomfort or numbness in the wrist, we frequently hear the term “carpal tunnel syndrome” spoken. There are additional conditions than the well-known carpal tunnel syndrome that can make the wrists hurt and numb. The need for carpal tunnel release surgery may arise in severe cases.

In addition to the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome, it’s important to be aware of the symptoms of other common disorders that affect the hand and wrist.

More ailments that can numb, tingle, pain, or numb the fingers and wrists, like carpal tunnel syndrome, will be covered in this section.

About Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome happens when your median nerve is strained by the carpal bones.

The carpal tunnel pinches the median nerve when your wrist expands, which causes pain.

These symptoms include numbness, burning, or tingling that starts at the thumb, pinky, or the forearm itself, as well as forearm pain that spreads to the shoulder.

Could you be misdiagnosed for something else?

– Cervical Radiculopathy

Although cervical radiculopathy is less frequent, it is nevertheless important to rule it out.

Cervical radiculopathy is a disorder that already exists in the cervical spine. The seven vertebrae that make up the neck are part of the cervical spine.

The nerves that run through the arms, wrists, and hands start here. You will suffer neurological symptoms such as pain, numbness, and tingling in the arms and hands when these vertebrae are irritated.

Herniated discs, spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease, and osteoarthritis of the cervical spine are among the conditions that can result in cervical radiculopathy.

These ailments can manifest similarly to carpal tunnel syndrome and are challenging to self-diagnose.

However, cervical radiculopathy may be the culprit if you have dull aching, acute pain, or stabbing pain. The location of the symptoms is another technique to rule out carpal tunnel syndrome. If you just have discomfort in your hands and wrists, carpal tunnel syndrome is more likely to be the cause than cervical radiculopathy.


Arthritis causes inflammation and cartilage loss, which cushions the joint as it moves. Arthritis can affect every joint in your body, including the ones in your hands, fingers, and wrists. Even while it primarily affects the elderly, it can happen to anyone.

In contrast to carpal tunnel syndrome, arthritis does not cause the same tingling or numbness. The most common symptoms of arthritis include stiffness, oedema, and joint pain. You might be able to distinguish between the two conditions based on where you are experiencing pain. Arthritis frequently causes pain in your thumb’s base or the joints in your fingers. Arthritis frequently affects your knuckles, causing bony lumps on those joints.

It’s important to realise that both conditions can coexist and that those with wrist arthritis have a higher risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome. This is due to the fact that the swollen tendons and wrists exert extra pressure on your median nerve, which is the location that carpal tunnel syndrome affects.

How You Can Avoid A Misdiagnosis

Phalen test: flexing the injured hand 90 degrees. Take a minute to hold it. You can press up against a wall to hold it. You might have carpal tunnel syndrome if you have pain, tingling, or numbness in your fingers.

The affected hand’s wrist crease must be firmly tapped with the opposing fingertip as part of the Tinel test. Several times, tap forcefully. If it makes your fingers tingle or imitates your symptoms, it may be a sign of carpal tunnel syndrome.

Use your opposite thumb to press the area of your palm shown above to do the Durkan test. For 60 seconds, firmly depress the button. A sign that carpal tunnel syndrome is present is when the fingers start to hurt, tingle or go numb.

If you or a loved one are struggling and need a check or musculoskeletal ultrasound services, head on over to Acorn Private Clinic or get in touch with a member of staff, and we will be more than happy to help!