Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition that causes numbness, tingling, weakness and pain in your hand because of pressure on the median nerve in your wrist. Those suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome typically find it difficult to perform work-related tasks and other daily activities. Early diagnosis and treatment offer the best chance for controlling your symptoms and preventing further complications, such as irreversible damage to nerves and muscles.
What Causes It?
Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the median nerve in your hand and forearm is compressed. This can happen for a number of reasons, ranging from injuries that affect the nerve to repetitive use, such as typing. The median nerve is located on the palm side of your hand (also called the carpal tunnel) and controls movement and feeling in your thumb and first three fingers.
Some of the most frequent conditions linked with carpal tunnel syndrome are:
- High blood pressure
- Thyroid dysfunction
- Fluid retention from menopause or pregnancy
- Autoimmune disorders, such as rheumatoid arthritis
- Fractures or trauma to the wrist
Some of the most frequent risk factors associated with carpal tunnel syndrome are:
- Gender – This condition tends to occur more often in women
- Medical History – Underlying medical condition such as diabetes that affects the nerves, or rheumatoid arthritis that causes inflammation
- Occupation – Having to perform repetitive tasks that strain this part of your hand
- Water Retention – Retaining water as a result of such things as pregnancy or menopause
What Are the Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Common symptoms of this condition typically include the following:
Tingling or Numbness:
You may experience tingling and numbness in your fingers or hand, usually the thumb and index, middle or ring fingers. Your little finger is not typically affected. Oftentimes, there is a sensation like an electric shock in these fingers that may travel from your wrist up your arm.
You may experience weakness and loss of grip in your hand. This may be due to the numbness or weakness of the thumb’s pinching muscles, which are also controlled by the median nerve.
When Is It Time to See a Doctor?
Visit your doctor if you have persistent signs and symptoms suggestive of carpal tunnel syndrome that interfere with your normal activities and sleep patterns. Permanent nerve and muscle damage can occur without treatment.
If you have carpal tunnel syndrome, there are several surgical and nonsurgical treatment options available which an orthopedic surgeon can discuss with you. To learn more about the best treatments options for you or to schedule an appointment with one of our orthopedic hand specialists, call us at 800.698.1280.