Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a common condition that causes pain, numbness, tingling and weakness in the hand and wrist. It happens when there is increased pressure within the wrist on a nerve called the median nerve. This nerve provides sensation to the thumb, index, middle fingers and to half of the ring finger. The little finger is typically not affected.
What is the Carpal Tunnel
The carpal tunnel is a narrow canal or tube in the wrist. Similarly to a tunnel you could travel through by a car, this part of the wrist allows the median nerve and tendons to connect the hand and forearm.
The parts of this tunnel includes:
- Carpal bones: These bones make up the bottom and sides of the tunnel.
- Ligament: The top of the tunnel, the ligament is a strong tissue that holds the tunnel together.
Inside the tunnel are the median nerve and tendons.
- Median nerve: This nerve provides feeling to most of the fingers in the hand (except the little finger). It also adds strength to the base of the thumb and index finger.
- Tendons: Rope like structures, tendons connect muscles in the forearm to the bones in the hand. They allow fingers and thumb to bend.
Reasons you should not ignore symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Prolonged Compression of the nerve may lead to:-
- Loss of sensation and pain can be debilitating and lead to loss of function
- Muscle atrophy or muscle wasting
Early diagnosis and treatment will help relieve your Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and may avoid the need for surgery
This will help prevent the nerve from permanent nerve damage.
Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Numbness at night.
Tingling and/or pain in the fingers (especially the thumb, index and middle fingers).
Decreased feeling in the fingertips.
Difficulty using the hand for small tasks, like:
- Handling small objects.
- Grasping a steering wheel to drive.
- Holding a book to read.
- Using a computer keyboard.
Treatments of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Conservative Treatment Options
The conservative treatments include:
- Treatment of the underlying medical conditions
- Using a hand and wrist splint or wrist brace for 4-6 weeks
- Avoid activities that tend to worsen the symptoms
- Medications such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and steroid injections
- Physiotherapy to strengthen the hand muscles once symptoms diminish
- A mixture of local anaesthesia and steroid is used to reduce the inflammation of the nerve
Surgery- Carpal Tunnel Release
This Involves making a small incision in the palm and wrist to release the pressure on the median nerve
Done under local anaesthesia
If you are facing any Hand Pain or Carpal Tunnel issues that you wish to resolve, please do not hesitate to contact our team at Spire Orthopaedics.