Carpal tunnel syndrome typically starts with a gradual, vague aching in your wrist that extends to your hand (especially your thumb and index and middle fingers) or forearm. This aching will develop into a frequent burning or itching sensation, frequently experienced initially in your dominant hand, which will also produce the most severe pain. Some people even report being unable to sense hot and cold by touch. In chronic and/or untreated cases, the muscles located at the base of your thumb may even begin to deteriorate. Common symptoms include:
- Tingling or numbness in your fingers or hand, especially your thumb, index, middle or ring fingers (but not your little finger). Many carpal tunnel sufferers “shake out” their hands to relieve their symptoms.
- Pain in or extending from your wrist and up your arm to your shoulder or down into your palm or fingers, especially after forceful or recurrent use.
- A loss of dexterity and strength in your hands and the inability to grasp objects as usual.
- A constant loss of feeling and/or motor control in some fingers (a sign of advanced carpal tunnel syndrome).