The carpal tunnel is a passageway on the palmar side of the wrist that houses the median nerve and finger flexor tendons. Anteriorly, the carpal tunnel is bordered by the transverse carpal ligament, a heavy band of fibers that forms the fibrous sheath containing the carpal tunnel; posteriorly, the carpal tunnel is bordered by carpal bones.
Guyon’s canal contains the ulnar nerve and artery; this anatomy does not pass through the tunnel, but lies superficial to it.
Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the median nerve, which controls sensations to the palm side of the thumb, first, second, and half of the third finger, becomes compressed at the wrist, within the carpal tunnel. This results in pain, weakness, or numbness in the hand and wrist, radiating up to the arm.