Delta Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine
Orthopaedic Surgeons & Sports Medicine Clinics located in West Memphis, AR & Collierville, TN
Carpal tunnel syndrome affects an estimated 3-6% of all adults, but women are especially at risk, as they develop this painful condition three times more often than men. At Delta Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine, in West Memphis, Arkansas, and Collierville, Tennessee, Michael Hood, MD, and the team encourage you to seek treatment early to prevent nerve damage and protect the muscles in your hand. If you have questions about your symptoms or you’d like to schedule an appointment, call the office or book online today.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Q & A
What is carpal tunnel syndrome?
Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the median nerve becomes compressed as it goes through your wrist. The median nerve travels down your arms and into your hands. It passes through the bones in your wrist using a narrow space called the carpal tunnel.
The carpal tunnel is a rigid space that’s surrounded by bone, and the nerve shares the space with numerous tendons. When any of the soft tissues inside the tunnel become inflamed, or when there’s damage to the bone, the carpal tunnel narrows and pinches the nerve, causing carpal tunnel syndrome.
What causes carpal tunnel syndrome?
In rare cases, you may have a smaller-than-normal wrist that increases your risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome. In most cases, however, the condition is caused by:
- Repetitive use that inflames the tendons
- Wrist flexion that places pressure on the nerve
- Wrist injuries that narrow the carpal tunnel or injure the soft tissues
- Health conditions like arthritis, diabetes, and thyroid disorders
Changes in hormones during pregnancy and menopause make women more susceptible to carpal tunnel.
What symptoms develop due to carpal tunnel syndrome?
Carpal tunnel syndrome usually develops slowly, so the symptoms sneak up on you. When symptoms first appear, they’re so mild you may not pay attention to them. As the condition worsens, you’ll experience:
- Wrist pain
- Hand weakness
- Burning, tingling, or numbness in your fingers
- Dropping things due to hand weakness or numbness
- Feeling like your fingers are swollen even when they’re not
It’s also common to develop a tingling or pins-and-needles sensation that radiates from your wrist to your thumb, index, and middle fingers.
How is carpal tunnel syndrome treated?
It’s important to visit Delta Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine for treatment as soon as you start to recognize the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome for two main reasons. First, because it can cause permanent nerve damage, and secondly, the condition responds well to conservative therapies when treatment begins in the early stages.
In the early stages, your treatment plan may include:
- Immobilizing your wrist, possibly just at night
- Changing your activities to avoid stress on the tendons
- Adjusting ergonomics to avoid bending your wrist
- Taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications to relieve inflammation
- Receiving a steroid injection, which is a powerful anti-inflammatory medicine
- Practicing nerve gliding exercises to restore smooth movement in the carpal tunnel
If your carpal tunnel syndrome is too severe or your symptoms don’t respond to conservative treatment, your provider may recommend surgery to release pressure on the nerve.
When you develop wrist pain or other symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome, call Delta Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine for a carpal tunnel evaluation or schedule an appointment online today.
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