Carpal tunnel syndrome is the most common condition surgically treated by hand surgeons. It is interesting to note this condition was only definitively described in years after World War II. Retrospectively, however, this condition did not appear suddenly at that time but was known under a variety of different names in the past. Patients who appear to have suffered from carpal tunnel syndrome are clearly depicted in the surgical literature going back at least o mid-1800s. The evolution of the clinical understanding that led to the current knowledge of carpal tunnel syndrome is an interesting one and represents a pattern that may be typical for many medical conditions. Specifically, early on there was confusion as to the pathophysiology, resulting in a variety of etiological theories, which in turn resulted in a variety of apparently different diagnoses being applied to the same clinical entity. Only later did the clinical threads merge and result in a single coherent clinical picture.
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