Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition in which the median nerve is compressed as it passes through an opening from the wrist to the hand called the carpal tunnel. The carpal tunnel is formed by the carpal bones on the bottom of the wrist and the transverse carpal ligament across the top of the wrist. Since the median nerve provides sensory and motor functions to the thumb and 3 middle fingers, many symptoms may result.

What are the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome?

The following are the most common symptoms for carpal tunnel syndrome. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:

  • Weakness when gripping objects with the hand(s)
  • Pain and/or numbness in the hand(s)
  • Pins and needles feeling in the fingers
  • Swollen feeling in the fingers
  • Burning or tingling in the fingers, especially the thumb and the index and middle fingers
  • Pain and/or numbness that is worse at night, interrupting sleep

The symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome may resemble other medical conditions or problems. Always consult your doctor for a diagnosis.

Treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome

Specific treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome will be determined by your doctor based on:

  • Your age, overall health, and medical history
  • Extent of the disease
  • Your tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies
  • Expectations for the course of the disease
  • Your opinion or preference

Treatment may include:

  • Splinting of the hand (to help prevent wrist movement and decrease the compression of the nerves inside the tunnel)
  • Oral or injected (into the carpal tunnel space) anti-inflammatory medications (to reduce the swelling)
  • Surgery (to relieve compression on the nerves in the carpal tunnel)
  • Changing position of a computer keyboard, or other ergonomic changes

Surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome

In general, the surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome is performed in an outpatient location under local or general anesthesia. The surgeon will make an incision in the wrist area. The tissue that is pressing on the nerves will then be cut, in order to decrease the pressure.

After the surgery, the wrist may be immobilized in a large dressing and wrist brace to help stabilize the area. The splint is usually worn continuously for the first 2 weeks after the surgery, but then is used intermittently for the next month or so. There is a moderate degree of pain in the hand after the surgery, which is usually controlled with pain medications taken orally. The surgeon may also have you keep the affected hand elevated while sleeping at night.

The length of recovery varies for each individual. If the nerve has been compressed for a long period of time, recovery may take longer. Movement of the fingers and wrists is encouraged a few days following surgery to help prevent stiffness.

Our orthopedic specialist Surgeons will discuss postoperative activities and restrictions with you.

source: HealthSource Library: http://healthsource.baylorhealth.com

Our carpal tunnel patients come to us from Dallas, Plano, Frisco, McKinney, Prosper and neighboring locatoons.

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