Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: Understanding and Treating Hand Pain and Numbness

Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a common condition that causes pain, numbness, and tingling in the hand and wrist. It arises when the median nerve, responsible for feeling and movement in the thumb, index, middle, and half of the ring finger, gets compressed within the carpal tunnel, a narrow passage in your wrist.

At the Khetan Knee Shoulder Clinic, Dr. Vatsal frequently sees patients suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome. In this blog post, Dr. Vatsal explains carpal tunnel syndrome, its causes, symptoms, and treatment options.

Understanding Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

The carpal tunnel is a narrow passage in your wrist formed by bones on the palm side and the carpal ligament on the palm side. The median nerve and tendons that flex your fingers pass through this tunnel. Repetitive motions or swelling in the wrist can squeeze the median nerve, leading to the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.

Causes of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Several factors can contribute to carpal tunnel syndrome, including:

  • Repetitive hand and wrist movements: Jobs or activities that involve repetitive gripping, typing, or forceful use of the wrist can increase the risk of CTS.
  • Underlying medical conditions: Certain medical conditions like diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and pregnancy can increase your susceptibility to carpal tunnel syndrome.
  • Anatomy: Some people naturally have a smaller carpal tunnel, making them more prone to CTS.
  • Wrist injuries: Fractures or sprains in the wrist can inflame tissues and compress the median nerve.

Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

The symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome typically develop gradually and may worsen at night. They can include:

  • Pain, numbness, and tingling in the thumb, index, middle, and half of the ring finger
  • Weakness in the hand, making it difficult to grip objects
  • Aching or burning sensation in the palm
  • Difficulty sleeping due to hand pain

Diagnosing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Dr. Vatsal will diagnose carpal tunnel syndrome based on your symptoms, medical history, and a physical examination. In some cases, tests like nerve conduction studies or electromyography may be necessary to confirm the diagnosis and assess the severity of nerve compression.

Treatment Options for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome depends on the severity of your symptoms. Here are some common treatment options:

  • Non-surgical treatments: These may include splinting to immobilize the wrist at night, activity modification to avoid aggravating activities, anti-inflammatory medications to reduce swelling, and steroid injections to decrease inflammation around the median nerve.
  • Carpal tunnel release surgery: In severe cases where conservative measures fail to provide relief, Dr. Vatsal may recommend carpal tunnel release surgery. This outpatient procedure involves cutting the carpal ligament to create more space for the median nerve.

Preventing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

While not always preventable, certain strategies can help reduce your risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome:

  • Maintain good posture: Ensure proper ergonomics at your workstation, keeping your wrists straight and avoiding excessive bending.
  • Take frequent breaks: If your job involves repetitive hand movements, take short breaks to stretch and relax your hands and wrists.
  • Strengthen hand and forearm muscles: Strong muscles can help support your wrists and reduce stress on the median nerve.
  • Maintain a healthy weight: Obesity can increase your risk of carpal tunnel syndrome.

If you are experiencing pain, numbness, or tingling in your hand and wrist, consult Dr. Vatsal at the Khetan Knee Shoulder Clinic. Early diagnosis and treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome can help prevent permanent nerve damage and improve your hand function.

We offer comprehensive evaluation, personalized treatment plans, and advanced surgical techniques to manage carpal tunnel syndrome and other hand conditions. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Vatsal today and get back to using your hands comfortably and pain-free!