There’s plenty going on in your hand. Your hands are capable of incredible articulation and detailed work, made possible by the 27 bones and joints, 34 muscles, and over 100 ligaments and tendons. One of the most common hand injuries occurs at the wrist where many components of the hand pass through a narrow channel called the carpal tunnel.
Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) affects as many as 10 million Americans. You’re more at risk of developing the condition as you get older, and more women develop it than men. When rest and home remedies don’t provide you with significant relief, visit the team at Southern Westchester Orthopedics & Sports Medicine. Our specialists ensure you receive the most up-to-date care that matches your injury.
Many people think of CTS as a condition caused solely by repetitive strain. This is a common cause, when you spend hours at a task or hobby that results in inflammation due to frequently repeated motions, but it’s not the only way it develops.
Certain underlying medical conditions make you more vulnerable to the inflammation that often results in pressure on the median nerve, which transmits sensory and muscular control to your thumb and first three fingers. These conditions include:
Repetitive strain does play an important role in CTS. Any activity that exposes your hand and wrist to frequent overextension, vibration, or awkward wrist postures can cause the carpal tunnel to collapse.
Jobs and hobbies are, of course, part of your lifestyle and therefore elements that affect CTS pain. But beyond this, there are less obvious lifestyle choices that could be making hand and wrist symptoms worse.
Dietary choices may seem like an unusual cause for CTS, but things you eat and drink can influence inflammatory responses in your body. Chief among these are highly processed foods and foods like refined starches and sugars that trigger the release of inflammatory messenger proteins called cytokines.
Foods high in saturated or trans fats also contribute to inflammatory responses in your body. This includes any fats that are solid at room temperature or other fats used in processed foods like microwave popcorn and prepared cake icing.
Legal drugs including caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine produce statistically significant rates of carpal tunnel syndrome, alone and in combination. Generally, higher levels of consumption cause a higher risk of CTS.
Having a high body mass index (BMI) also raises your risk of experiencing carpal tunnel syndrome, particularly when you have other risk factors working against you.
The good news is that carpal tunnel syndrome is usually easy to treat. And making changes to your lifestyle — such as eating an anti-inflammatory diet, losing extra pounds, quitting smoking — can help ease your symptoms.
The earlier you’re diagnosed, the better chance you have to sidestep additional pain and complications. Call or click to request an appointment at the nearest location of Southern Westchester Orthopedics & Sports Medicine to get a grip on your CTS symptoms.