Carpal tunnel is an uncomfortable hand and arm condition that involves inflammation and tendon thickening. It also entails soft hand tissues that compress the median nerve. In most cases, people who have this problem can find relief from symptoms without requiring surgery. Here’s what you need to know about this condition and carpal tunnel treatment options.
Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Numbness in the index, thumb and middle fingers is typically the first sign. This can make it hard to grasp and hold small items because your muscles aren't stimulated.
- Fingers “falling asleep,” especially during sleep while your wrist is bent, is another common sign. This problem can cause you to awaken and shake your hand to restore normalcy in your fingers.
By splinting the wrist and fingers, swelling is reduced. Wrist splints are braces resembling fingerless gloves used to secure the wrist in a straight, somewhat bent-back position.
These products are designed to reduce the amount of pressure on the median nerve, giving you relief from painful motions that worsen carpal tunnel syndrome. You need to continue wearing splints until your symptoms have eased. Occupational and physical therapists can create splints that are custom-fit for you so that they’re more comfortable.
Surgery for Carpal Tunnel
If wearing splints are ineffective, surgery may be needed. Endoscopic surgery involves using a tiny, flexible camera called an endoscope, which is used to guide a surgeon through a small incision. This tool allows your doctor to view the transverse carpal ligament and other wrist structures without making a large cut.
Exceptionally tiny cutting tools are inserted through small wrist incisions. The goal is to cut the transverse carpal ligament, which alleviates pressure on the median nerve, as well as eases symptoms. The procedure is typically done on an outpatient basis. Therefore, you don't have to remain in the hospital overnight.
- Fluid retention can irritate the median nerve, causing carpal tunnel. This is a common problem for pregnant or menopausal women.
- Obesity, kidney failure, thyroid problems and other conditions can increase the likelihood of carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Typing, playing tennis and other repetitive movements involved in sports and work can also cause this problem. In fact, carpal tunnel syndrome affects about five percent of Americans engaged in repetitive use of their wrists and hands.
Mueller Sports Medicine offers high quality products that can help relieve carpal tunnel symptoms. If you need any help, please don’t hesitate to contact us.