Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

About Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

You may feel the weakness, tingling, and pain related to carpal tunnel syndrome in your hand and forearm, but the discomfort originates in a small space in your wrist. The professionals at North Point Orthopaedics, with locations in Munster and Crown Point, Indiana, are experts at diagnosing and treating the nerve irritation that causes carpal tunnel syndrome. Schedule an evaluation today for state-of-the-art orthopedic care delivered in a patient-focused environment. Call the nearest North Point Orthopaedics office or request an appointment online.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Q & A

What is carpal tunnel syndrome?

Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a relatively common disorder that irritates and inflames the median nerve, which runs from your forearm through a small passageway in the wrist called the carpal tunnel.

The median nerve supplies sensation to the palm side of your thumb, index, middle, and ring fingers. It also carries nerve signals that control motor function (movement) around the base of the thumb.

What are the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome?

CTS causes varying degrees of weakness, numbness, tingling, and electric shock-like pains in the affected hand and forearm. Initially, CTS symptoms occur periodically and may worsen with activities such as gripping a steering wheel, grasping a pen, holding a phone, or typing.

The condition also frequently causes nighttime symptoms that may wake you from sleep and lessen if you shake your hands. 

Unfortunately, the numbness, tingling, and pain related to CTS often become constant as the nerve irritation worsens. CTS can cause permanent nerve and muscle damage if not treated. 

What causes carpal tunnel syndrome?

CTS occurs when the median nerve is squeezed or compressed as it travels through the carpal tunnel in your wrist. A wrist fracture, for instance, may narrow the carpal tunnel and encroach on the nerve.

Some people are also born with an unusually narrowed carpal tunnel, and age-related thickening of the ligaments that share the space may cause median nerve compression. Inflammatory conditions such as arthritis involving the wrist joint also increase your risk.

Diabetes, thyroid disorders, lymphedema, and other chronic conditions affecting circulation and nerve health may also trigger CTS. Research is still inconclusive, but workplace activities that require repetitive flexing of the wrist or the use of drills or other vibratory tools might increase your risk of CTS.   

How do you treat carpal tunnel syndrome?

Early treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome may include frequent breaks to rest your hands, avoiding activities that cause pain, and over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen to relieve pain and decrease inflammation.

Your North Point Orthopaedics team may also recommend splinting to keep your wrists properly aligned as you sleep, and treatment for arthritis and other conditions contributing to CTS. You might also benefit from corticosteroid injections into the wrist to decrease inflammation and pain related to median nerve compression.

If conservative treatment fails to relieve your pain or you’re experiencing significant weakness, numbness, or disability, your provider may recommend surgery to relieve pressure on the median nerve.  

Schedule your appointment at North Point Orthopaedics today by calling the nearest office or requesting a visit online.