Your carpal tunnel syndrome did not cause the onset of RA. However, the reverse is often true. People with RA are at increased risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome. In fact, any condition that crowds or reduces the size of the carpal tunnel may bring on symptoms. Running through the wrists carpal tunnel is the median nerve as well as tendons and their surrounding synovial membrane, which can become inflamed and swollen in patients with RA. The swelling of the synovium in the carpal tunnel crowds and compresses the median nerve, causing pain and numbness in the hand. The standard treatment is to increase the size of the carpal tunnel by surgically incising the ligament that forms the roof of the tunnel.