Symptoms of CTS tend to appear gradually. They include:
- Numbness, tingling, or burning sensations in the thumb and fingers, particularly the index and middle fingers, which are affected by the median nerve
- Pain in the hands or wrists
- Loss of dexterity or gripping strength
- Difficulty performing routine tasks with the hands such as holding a cup, vacuuming, washing up, or even driving; some people have difficulty holding a newspaper or a telephone
- Pain in the arm and shoulder
- Swelling of the hand, which often increases at night
A telltale sign of CTS is when symptoms are severe enough to awaken the sufferer from sleep, with tingling or pain in the hand. Symptoms may worsen at night because of the way the hand is positioned during sleep. Some may find relief by vigorously shaking their hand while held high or low, by rubbing their hands together, or even by soaking the hand in warm water.