The carpal tunnel is a narrow passage in the wrist through which tendons and the median nerve pass. The median nerve controls movements of the palm and base of the thumb and provides feeling to the fingers.
Carpal tunnel syndrome, also referred to as median nerve compression, occurs when the tissue inside the carpal tunnel swells up and applies pressure to the median nerve.
With time, this pressure may cause certain symptoms. Estimates suggest that anywhere between 3% to 6% of the adult population suffers from carpal tunnel syndrome.
Our specialists at Mid Atlantic Orthopedic Associates specialize in managing carpal tunnel syndrome. Read on to find what symptoms you may experience if you have carpal tunnel and what treatments are available to treat these symptoms.
Common symptoms include pain, numbness, tingling, and weakness.
You may notice numbness and tingling first thing in the morning. Later, the symptoms may flare up again as you’re bending your wrist while typing or holding a book for prolonged periods.
As the pressure on the median nerve increases, you may notice that your grip strength declines. At this stage, you may also experience pain.
Rest usually improves these symptoms, whereas repetitive motions typically worsen them.
Look out for activities that involve repetitive motions. For example, having a hobby that involves bending your wrist or working a job that involves the use of vibrating tools may raise your risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome.
However, diabetes also increases the likelihood of the median nerve getting compressed.
Our experts at Mid Atlantic Orthopedic Associates use imaging tests and nerve conduction studies to look at the nerves and tissues in your wrist and test the nerve signals in your median nerve.
Our experts may also test your wrist with a reflex hammer to determine if your fingers tingle when the median nerve is stimulated. Tingling may be a sign of carpal tunnel syndrome.
Many patients are able to prevent further damage to their hands and fingers by taking breaks more often if repetitive motion is what triggers their symptoms.
Wearing a splint at night may also reduce the pressure on the median nerve. For pain, our experts may recommend anti-inflammatory drugs or steroid injections.
If conservative treatments don’t reduce your symptoms, our specialists may recommend surgery to enlarge the size of the carpal tunnel and ease the pressure on your median nerve.
Contact us to schedule an appointment and find out what’s causing your symptoms. Get prompt medical help at our office in East Brunswick, New Jersey.
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