What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

  • Frequent cause of hand numbness and pain
  • Affects more women than men
  • Non-surgical and minimally invasive surgery approaches available

The carpal tunnel is a tube-like structure in the wrist, comprised of wrist (carpal) bones with a covering of connective tissue called the transverse carpal ligament. The median nerve runs through the carpal tunnel, it controls feeling in the palm side of the thumb, index finger and long fingers. Flexor tendons that bend the fingers and thumb also run through the tunnel. Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the tissues surrounding the tendons swell and put pressure on the median nerve. Although there isn’t one known cause of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, several factors contribute to its development:

  • Genetics and heredity cause some families to have smaller than normal carpal tunnels
  • Repeated hand and wrist motion over time
  • Aging
  • Hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy
  • Some disease conditions such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and thyroid gland imbalance

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is very painful and can be debilitating, affecting your ability to use your hand for normal activities of daily living.

Our Treatment Approach

Lumin OrthoCARE hand specialists treat  Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. They understand the ailment and their approach to treatment. To accurately diagnosis the severity of your problem, your doctor will examine your hand and wrist and will evaluate the following:

  • The feeling in your fingers
  • Whether pressing down on the median nerve in the wrist causes numbness or tingling
  • If numbness or tingling occurs when you bend and hold your wrists in certain positions
  • Weakness in the muscles at the base of your thumb
  • If tapping along the median nerve in your wrist cause any numbness or tingling

Your doctor may also order electrophysiology tests of the media nerve function and X-rays to see if  you have limited wrist motion. Several conservative, non-surgical treatments are effective at relieving Carpal Tunnel Syndrome if it is diagnosed and treated early:

  • Bracing or splinting the wrist at night
  • Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications
  • Changing patterns of hand use and activities
  • Corticosteroid injections

If these conservative treatments do not provide pain relief, surgery may be the best option. The procedure involves dividing or cutting the transverse carpal ligament to increase the size of the tunnel and decrease pressure on the nerve. Surgical approaches include:

  • Endoscopic minimally invasive surgery
  • Open procedure

Your doctor will discuss with you the best surgical approach for your situation.

Causes

There is no one known cause of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, however these factors contribute to the condition:

  • Genetics and heredity cause some families to have smaller than normal carpal tunnels
  • Repeated hand and wrist motion over time
  • Aging
  • Hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy
  • Some disease conditions such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and thyroid gland imbalance

Symptoms

  • Numbness, tingling and pain in the hand
  • Unusual feelings and pain that travel up the arm toward the shoulder
  • Electric shock-like feeling mostly in the thumb, index finger and long fingers