CNY Orthopedic Sports Medicine, PC: Injury: Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Injuries and Conditions: Hand : Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is the result of swelling in the lubricating membrane (synovium) of the wrist; reducing the space, or tunnel, where the nerve travels from the forearm into the hand. When this tunnel swells, the resulting pressure can cause irritation and pain in the nerves of the wrist.
  • The condition can range from mild to severe with possible symptoms including numbness, weakness, pain, or loss of control of the fingers.
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome is often a repetitive strain injury resulting from performing the same motion(s) over and over in anything from computer to factory work. It can also be the result of conditions ranging from hormonal changes to sugar diabetes to arthritis.
  • Preventative measures such as good posture, frequent breaks from repetitive motion, massaging and stretching your hands and arms to improve circulation reduce the risk of injury.
  • Non-surgical treatmentin mild cases include rest, wrist splints, heat to relieve pain and/or cold to reduce inflammation.
  • Anti-inflammatory medication (NSAID's) or corticosteroid injections into the tunnel may also be prescribed.
  • Persistent symptoms and advanced cases may require surgery. Cutting the ligament on the top of the carpal tunnel reduces pressure on the nerve.

  • Signs and Symptoms
  • Numbness or tingling--that may extend to the thumb, the first three fingers, or the palm, it is especially common at night and after using the hands repetitively.
  • Decreased sensation in the thumb and first two fingers.
  • Weakness or reduced control in the grip or a tendency to drop things.
  • Persistant pain in the wrist or forearm.

  • Contact the Doctor if ...
  • The patient has the signs and symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.
  • After treatment, the patient experiences persistent pain, weakness, numbness or tingling.
  • The patient experiences unexplained symptoms, other types of pain, or unexpected side effects from medication.

  • Common Causes of Injury
  • Repetitive motion including tight grasping and bending of the wrist.
  • Injury to the wrist, such as broken bones, which cause swelling.
  • Arthritis.
  • Sugar diabetes.
  • Hormonal changes such as pregnancy and menopause.
  • Hyper or Hypo thyroidism

  • Expectations of Recovery
  • The length of recovery before resuming normal activities varies from several weeks to several months depending on the age of the patient and the severity of the injury.
  • Following surgery, numbness may persist for a period of time in more severe cases, and some lingering tenderness at the incision site is common.
  • participation in a hand therapy program to improve strength, flexibility, and circulation following surgery.


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