What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
The carpal tunnel is a narrow passageway located on the palm side of your wrist that protects the main nerves to your hand and the nine tendons that bend your fingers. Carpal tunnel syndrome is a hand and arm condition caused by compression of the nerves in the wrist.
How Do I Get Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Carpal tunnel syndrome typically occurs in people ages 30 to 60, and is more common in women than men. Other factors that contribute to Carpal Tunnel syndrome include:
- Anatomy of your wrist
- Repetitive hand motions
- Patterns of hand use
- Alcohol use
- Bone fractures in the wrist
- Arthritis of the wrist
- Cysts or tumors in the wrist
- Fluid retention caused by pregnancy or menopause
- Rheumatoid arthritis
What are Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome can be felt in one or both hands. Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome include:
- Numbness or tingling in fingers or hands
- Weakness in hands
- Pain in wrist or hand that extends to the elbow
- Problems with finger movement
- Wasting away of the muscle under the thumb
- Weak grip or difficulty carrying bags
How is Carpal Tunnel diagnosed?
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is diagnosed through a combination of physical exam and testing. During a physical examination, our Physicians will check for:
- Numbness in the palm, thumb, index finger, middle finger, and thumb side of your ring finger
- Strength of hand grip
- Tinel Sign- tapping over the median nerve at your wrist to determine if pain will shoot from your wrist to your hand
- Phalen test- Bending the wrist forward fully for 60 seconds to determine if numbness, tingling, or weakness occurs
Our Staff may also order:
- Electromyography (EMG)- a test that checks muscles and the nerves that control them
- Nerve conduction velocity- a test to see how fast electrical signals move through a nerve
How is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Treated?
Treatment for Carpal Tunnel include:
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (ibuprofen or naproxen)
- Corticosteroid injections
- Cold and warm compress
- Carpal Tunnel release- surgical procedure that cuts into the ligament that are pressing on the nerve
What is My Prognosis?
With proper treatment, most people have relief of their symptoms and restored wrist and hand function. If you believe you may be experiencing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, contact the office of Kentucky Neurology and Rehab.