Distal median nerve dysfunction - Overview
Neuropathy - distal median nerve
Definition of Distal median nerve dysfunction:
Distal median nerve dysfunction is a form of peripheral neuropathy that affects the movement of or sensation in the hands.
A common type of distal median nerve dysfunction is carpal tunnel syndrome.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors:
Dysfunction of one nerve group, such as the distal median nerve, is called a mononeuropathy. Mononeuropathy means there is a local cause of the nerve damage, although occasionally body-wide (systemic) disorders may cause isolated nerve damage.
Distal median nerve dysfunction occurs when the nerve is inflamed, trapped, or injured by trauma. The most common reason is trapping (entrapment), which puts pressure on the nerve where it passes through a narrow area. Wrist fractures may injure the median nerve directly or may increase the risk for trapping a nerve later on.
Inflammation of the tendons (tendonitis) or joints (arthritis) can also cause nerve compression.
Conditions that affect connective tissue or cause deposits to form in tissue can block blood flow and lead to nerve compression. Such conditions include:
In some cases, no cause can be identified.
- Reviewed last on: 8/27/2010
- David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; Daniel B. Hoch, PhD, MD, Assistant Professor of Neurology, Harvard Medical School, Department of Neurology, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
Jarvik JG, Comstock BA, Kliot M, et al. Surgery versus non-surgical therapy for carpal tunnel syndrome: a randomized parallel-group trial. Lancet.2009 Sep 26;374(9695):1074-81.
Zhao M, Burke D. Median neuropathy (carpal tunnel syndrome). In: Frontera WR, Silver JK, Rizzo TD, eds. Essentials of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2008:chap 32.
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