Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is a common condition resulting from compression of the median nerve as it travels to the hand through the carpal tunnel in the wrist. This causes numbness, tingling, and pain on the thumb side of the hand and fore-arm with symptoms extending into the thumb, index and middle fingers and half of the ring finger. If pressure on the median nerve is prolonged or severe, weakness and decreased dexterity can develop in the thumb and fingers.
CTS is caused by pressure on the median nerve as it travels through the carpal tunnel in the wrist. The carpal tunnel is a narrow passageway made up of carpal wrist bones on one side and the transverse carpal ligament on the other. Anything that narrows this passageway enough to compress the nerve can cause the symptoms of CTS. Overuse/repetitive motion injury, carpal bone fracture, rheumatoid arthritis, and working with vibrating tools are considered common culprits.
If there is no muscle atrophy, weakness or dexterity loss in the hand and fingers, first line therapy is wrist splinting and activity modification. A specialized splint is worn at night during sleep to keep the wrist properly aligned. It can also be worn during daytime activities that usually increase symptoms. Ergonomic working conditions and avoidance of activities that exacerbate symptoms is also recommended.
If there is muscle loss, weakness, or symptoms are significant and unrelieved by conservative non-surgical interventions, surgery is recommended to release the pressure off the median nerve. Carpal tunnel release surgery is done by making an incision along the palmar surface of the wrist and cutting the transverse carpal ligament to decompress the median nerve and relieve the symptoms of CTS. Contact our Physicians today if you suspect you may be suffering from CTS.