I am 63-years old and have two painful conditions in my wrist and hand. One is carpal tunnel syndrome and the other is arthritis at the base of the thumb. Are these connected? Which one caused the other?

Doctors do think there’s a link between these two problems. They both occur most often in postmenopausal women. There may be a hormonal connection. This may also just be a matter or anatomy.

The trapezium bone at the base of the thumb forms one side of the carpal tunnel. Other bones in the wrist and ligaments make up the rest of the borders for this oval-shaped tunnel. Tendons and the median nerve pass through the tunnel.

Arthritic changes of the bone such as bone spurs can protrude into the carpal tunnel. This narrows the space even more and puts pressure on the nerve. New imaging technology may help doctors study this problem more thoroughly in the future. At present, only several small studies have been done.