Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition arising from the median nerve of the wrist. The nerve becomes compressed or traumatized where it travels through the carpal tunnel. Causes can vary and are not always fully understood, but it is often painful!
The good news is that there are a number of treatments to successfully treat carpal tunnel syndrome. A full examination is required to determine the most appropriate method to address the problem and to confirm the diagnosis, as this may not always be straightforward.
What are the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome?
Symptoms usually start gradually and progressively worsen. These include:
- Numbness and tingling in your fingers or hand
- Pain in the hand, often starting at the wrist
- Decreased power
Symptoms are often worse at night. As the condition worsens, tingling, numbness, pain, and decreased strength may occur in the day. In untreated cases, the muscles at the base of the thumb may be affected. Persistent symptoms that affect daily activities and / or sleep patterns require a consultation with our surgeons. Untreated, permanent muscle and nerve damage can occur.
How is carpal tunnel syndrome diagnosed and treated?
Diagnosis begins with a physical examination and can often be made at the first consultation. Occasionally laboratory tests, x-rays, electrodiagnostic tests, ultrasounds, and MRIs are necessary to out rule other conditions that can mimic carpal tunnel syndrome.
Treatment is patient dependent and includes both non-operative and surgical options depending. Non-operative treatment could include splinting, hand therapy, lifestyle changes and steroid injection, splinting, hand therapy, and lifestyle changes. A decision on when to proceed to surgery, in more severe cases or when conservative treatment has failed, is made between patient and surgeon during the consultation.