Carpal Tunnel Q & A
What is the carpal tunnel?
Your carpal tunnel is part of your wrist. It’s a passageway on the palm side of your wrist containing bones, ligaments, and nerves.
Passing through your carpal tunnel is the large median nerve that runs from your shoulder to the thumb side of your hand. This nerve sends sensory information back to your brain from your hand, fingers, and wrist.
If the median nerve comes under pressure for any length of time, it can become inflamed, resulting in carpal tunnel syndrome.
The most common cause of the nerve compression that leads to carpal tunnel syndrome is a thickening of the ligament in the carpal tunnel. Repetitive strain and overuse of your wrist can cause the ligament to thicken. Carpal tunnel syndrome is common in people whose work focuses on using their hands, like office workers.
What symptoms does carpal tunnel syndrome cause?
As the median nerve becomes inflamed, you might notice tingling or "pins-and-needles" sensations in your wrist and hand. Sometimes — especially at night — your wrist and hand go numb as well.
As time passes, these feelings worsen and your wrist starts to become painful. You might have a constant or recurring aching in your wrist and sharp shooting pains that go up your arm.
Symptoms are typically worse at night, so you may have trouble sleeping and awaken to find your wrist and hand completely numb.
Your hand and wrist also get progressively weaker, making it hard to grasp objects, carry things without dropping them, and perform everyday functions like writing.
What treatments might I need for carpal tunnel syndrome?
If you get treatment for your carpal tunnel syndrome at an early stage, the All American Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Institute team can fit you with a splint to stop your wrist from bending to prevent further nerve compression.
Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications can relieve the pain.
Physical therapy should also help and, for persistent cases, steroid injections into your carpal tunnel could reduce inflammation and pain.
Does carpal tunnel syndrome require surgery?
If your carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms aren't improving and have a significant impact on your daily life, the team at All American Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Institute might suggest surgery.
The procedure they use is called carpal tunnel release, in which they cut the ligament that presses on your median nerve. This surgery relieves nerve compression and restores function to your wrist and hand.
If you have symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome, All American Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Institute offers comprehensive services to resolve your problem. Call or book an appointment online today.