Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common condition that occurs when the median nerve located in the wrist becomes pinched. The median nerve, which provides feeling to the thumb and fingers, passes through a narrow passageway called the carpal tunnel. Certain health conditions and activities can cause swelling within the carpal tunnel that impinges on the median nerve.
Common Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
In the early stages, symptoms typically include numbness, tingling, and burning sensations in the fingers and palm. The fingers may feel swollen even when there is no evidence of swelling. Initially, the symptoms may be worse at night since it is common to sleep with the wrists in a flexed position. Eventually, the symptoms may persist throughout the day to the point that it is difficult to grasp objects, make a fist, or perform other tasks requiring manual dexterity. When left untreated, the muscles located at the bottom of the thumb may atrophy and touch sensation may be lost.
How Does Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Develop?
Carpal tunnel can arise from a variety of factors and causes. In most instances, the condition is caused by a reduction in the amount of space within the tunnel itself rather than an issue with the median nerve. Trauma, thyroid problems, excess fluid retention, cysts, and rheumatoid arthritis can all cause inflammation within the carpal tunnel. The condition is also common in individuals who perform repetitive tasks with their hands and wrists or use vibrating tools, just as jackhammers.
What Does Diagnosis & Treatment Entail?
One of LA Hand Surgeon’s board-certified plastic hand surgeons and hand specialists can diagnose carpal tunnel syndrome by compiling a detailed medical and lifestyle history as well as using a variety of imaging, laboratory, and electrodiagnostic tests. In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to relieve the pressure on the median nerve.
Contact our office today to learn more about the surgical and non-surgical treatment options our plastic surgeons offer for carpal tunnel syndrome. Our team of board-certified plastic hand and reconstructive surgeons includes Dr. Arezou Yaghoubian, Dr. S. Daniel Golshani and Dr. James Coleman.