Carpal tunnel syndrome is a compression phenomenon of the median nerve in the palm. Arthritis is a much more general term. “Arth” meaning joint. “Itis” meaning inflammation. What arthritis is, is it’s inflammation of a joint and that can be any joint in your body. They are very distinct entities. Patients with arthritis certainly can have carpal tunnel syndrome and vice versa, but generally arthritis will present with pain and stiffness. Carpal tunnel syndrome presents with numbness and tingling in the fingers.