SOUTHERN WESTCHESTER ORTHOPEDICS & SPORTS MEDICINE
Sports Medicine & Orthopedic Hand Surgeons located in Yonkers, NY, Bronx, NY, & Mamaroneck, NY
Carpal tunnel syndrome often sneaks up on you, beginning as mild, occasional pain or tingling and gradually progressing to cause a weak grip and permanent nerve damage. At SOUTHERN WESTCHESTER ORTHOPEDICS AND SPORTS MEDICINE, David Lent, MD, FAAOS, and Eric Spencer, MD, FAAOS, develop customized treatment plans that protect the nerve, ease your symptoms, and restore normal hand movement. If you need help with carpal tunnel syndrome, use the online booking feature or call the office in Yonkers or Mamaroneck, New York, or the Riverdale neighborhood of the Bronx in New York City today.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Q & A
What is carpal tunnel syndrome?
Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the median nerve is pinched. The median nerve travels through your arm and into your hand. As it passes through your wrist, the nerve goes through a narrow opening called the carpal tunnel.
The nerve shares the small tunnel with several tendons. When any of these soft tissues become inflamed, the nerve becomes compressed inside the tunnel. That's when you have carpal tunnel syndrome.
What causes carpal tunnel syndrome?
Some people have a higher risk for carpal tunnel syndrome because they naturally have a smaller-than-normal tunnel. However, the nerve most often gets pinched due to:
Repetitive use injuries
Frequently repeating the same hand and finger movements places stress on the tendons. As a result, the tendons become inflamed and pinch the nerve.
Wrist flexion and extension
Performing manual activities with your wrist bent up (extension) or down (flexion) places extra stress on the nerve, causing irritation and inflammation.
Any injury that affects the structures in your wrist can result in carpal tunnel syndrome.
A few health conditions increase your risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome, including diabetes and inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis.
What symptoms does carpal tunnel syndrome cause?
Carpal tunnel symptoms usually develop slowly. As they get progressively worse, you experience:
- Hand and wrist pain
- Hand, thumb, and finger weakness
- Numbness in your hands or fingers
- Electric-shock sensations in your wrist and hand
- Tingling in your thumb or first three fingers
- Feeling like your fingers are swollen (when they're not)
As soon as symptoms develop, it's important to seek medical care. The longer your case of carpal tunnel syndrome goes untreated, the more likely you are to develop permanent nerve damage.
How is carpal tunnel syndrome treated?
In the early stages of carpal tunnel syndrome, your provider can alleviate your symptoms and give the nerve time to heal with conservative treatment, such as:
- Immobilizing your wrist
- Changing or limiting hand activities
- Improving hand and wrist ergonomics
- Taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications
- Practicing nerve gliding exercises
- Getting a steroid injection
If your symptoms don't improve, or you already have nerve damage, your provider recommends outpatient surgery to relieve the pressure on the nerve.
During the procedure, called carpal tunnel release, your provider carefully cuts the ligament that forms one part of the carpal tunnel. This produces just enough extra space for the nerve to heal.
If you have symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome, call SOUTHERN WESTCHESTER ORTHOPEDICS AND SPORTS MEDICINE or book an appointment online today.
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