Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Treatment for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome in Cincinnati
Carpal tunnel syndrome can cause pain, tingling, and numbness in the hand and arm. Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome can be mild at first, but this condition can progress to become more painful and even limit use of the hand and wrist. Our hand and wrist experts at the Clifton Hand Surgery Center, part of the Beacon Orthopaedics program, can diagnose and treat carpal tunnel syndrome to alleviate symptoms and restore proper use of the hand and wrist.
What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Carpal tunnel syndrome refers to compression of the median nerve where it enters the area of the small bones (carpal bones) of the wrist. This area is formed by the carpal bones and a ligament to form a tunnel on the palm side of the hand. Through this tunnel passes the median nerve. The median nerve travels to the thumb, index, long, and usually half of the ring finger.
Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrom
Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome may include:
- A sensation like an electric shock
- A need to “shake out” the hands to relieve numbness
- Numbness in the hand and wrist, possibly traveling up to the elbow or shoulder, especially at night
- Weakness in the hand or arm
- Hand and wrist pain
- Difficulty gripping or holding objects1
What Causes Carpal Tunnel?
We don’t know what causes the pressure on the median nerve that leads to carpal tunnel syndromes. But we do know these symptoms are often associated with:
- Repetitive hand activities
- Genetics (smaller carpal tunnels can be inherited)
- Abnormal protein (amyloid deposits)2
When patients have these symptoms associated with carpal tunnel syndrome, we treat them based on the intensity of their symptoms.
How is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Diagnosed?
Carpal tunnel syndrome shares symptoms with a number of other hand and wrist conditions, including:
- De Quervian’s Tendinosis
- Trigger Finger
For this reason, it is important to work with a hand and wrist specialist to properly diagnose and treat carpal tunnel syndrome.
During an examination, your doctor may perform a number of tests before arriving at a diagnosis of carpal tunnel syndrome:
- Tinel’s Sign: This test involves tapping on the median nerve in the wrist. If this causes tingling in the fingers, carpal tunnel syndrome may be the culprit.
- Phalen Test: During this test, the doctor will flex your wrists, increasing the pressure on your carpal tunnels. If you have carpal tunnel syndrome, you will likely experience tingling and numbness in your fingers.
- X-Rays: Your doctor may order an X-ray of your wrist if you have suffered a trauma or injury, have evidence of arthritis, or display a limited range of motion.
- Nerve Study: Your doctor may use electromyography (EMG) to test the function of your median nerve.3
Treatment for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
When treating carpal tunnel syndrome, our hand and wrist specialists prefer to apply the least invasive treatment possible to effectively alleviate a patient’s symptoms. Non-surgical treatment for carpal tunnel may include:
- Night braces
- Avoidance of certain activities
- NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications)
- Cortisone injections
Surgery for Carpal Tunnel
For severe cases of carpal tunnel syndrome, it may be necessary to surgically decompress the median nerve. Surgical decompression is an outpatient procedure, and most of our patients are able to get back to their normal hand and wrist activities within 1 to 4 weeks.
Contact Beacon Orthopaedics
If you have symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome, we can help. Our hand and wrist experts can diagnose the condition and recommend appropriate treatment to alleviate carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms. To schedule a consultation with an expert, please contact us today.
1 Mayo Clinic. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Available: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/carpal-tunnel-syndrome/symptoms-causes/syc-20355603. Accessed November 8, 2021.
2 Cleveland Clinic. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Available: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/4005-carpal-tunnel-syndrome. Accessed November 8, 2021.
3 American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Available: https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases–conditions/carpal-tunnel-syndrome/. Accessed November 8, 2021.
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