Differential diagnosis of atypical focal peripheral neuropathy: case report.
Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is the most frequent form of focal peripheral neuropathy but is commonly misdiagnosed. The aim of this case report was to describe the differential diagnosis of CTS and atypical focal peripheral neuropathy in a 34-year-old female. Although the patient's medical diagnosis was CTS, she did not report night pain, did not exhibit hand atrophy, had no sensory loss, did not meet the five criteria of the clinical prediction rule for CTS, and demonstrated symptoms associated with radial and median nerve pain. The patient's concordant symptoms were associated with wrist passive accessory stiffness and functional activities that required repetitive end range movements. Interventions included treatment of two priority impairments: 1) pain and 2) wrist accessory stiffness. After five treatments, the patient no longer reported pain with activities and was able to return to work with no restrictions. Although the patient in this case report exhibited isolated features consistent with CTS, compelling cumulative evidence suggested a distinct diagnosis. Limited evidence exists to support the use of mobilization, strengthening, and pain reduction-based modalities for the treatment of focal peripheral neuropathy; subsequently, treatments must be individually effective when targeted toward the patient's priority impairments. The diagnosis of CTS is challenging because there are a variety of possible clinical presentations. Using evidence-based indices, such as the clinical prediction rule for CTS and other comparative history and physical measures, should improve the likelihood of accurate diagnosis and treatment.
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