Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) represents the most common form of peripheral nerve entrapment. Although idiopathic and systemic etiologies are not uncommon, repetitive and stressful wrist motion activities represent a large majority of the cases. Its clinical presentation is classic, and diagnosis can easily be corroborated with electrodiagnostic studies. As a single clinical entity, CTS was not recognized until 1854, when it was first described by Paget (1). His description included a patient who sustained traumatic compressive injury of the median nerve at the distal radius. Subsequently, in 1880, Putnam (2) reported on a series of patients who presented with symptoms consistent with CTS. The first report of surgical release of a compressed median nerve following a traumatic injury was by Learmonth in 1933 (3). In 1946, Cannon and Love (4) first reported the first surgical release of a nontraumatic entrapped median nerve at the wrist. However, beginning in 1950, and during the subsequent two decades, Phalen (5-10) reported on a large number of patients with idiopathic spontaneous CTS, treated by surgical transection of the transverse carpal ligament. He is acknowledged as single-handedly popularizing the surgical treatment of CTS.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology