Carpal tunnel syndrome is a painful condition that occurs when the large nerve that runs through your forearm to your hand becomes squeezed or compressed, often due to injury, disease, or inflammation. The symptoms of carpal tunnel occur in the palm and fingers, and may include:● burning● tingling● itching● numbness● weakness in the fingers● decreased grip strength● decreased sensations in the palm and fingers
Treatment begins with an evaluation of your hand and wrist to determine the underlying causes of the condition. If a disease such as arthritis or diabetes is present, those conditions will be addressed. Symptoms such as pain and inflammation may be treated through rest, careful application of ice, use of splints and oral anti-inflammatory medications. In some cases anti-inflammatory and anesthetic medications may be injected directly into the wrist area to help relieve swelling and pain. Stretching exercises and physical therapy can also be helpful. In more severe cases that don't respond to conservative approaches, surgery may be needed to “release” the nerve by enlarging the carpal tunnel. Both open and endoscopic surgical techniques are available. Dr. Ahn will determine which approach is best for your needs.
Because carpal tunnel syndrome often occurs as a result of repetitive motions, usually the best way to prevent it is by adjusting your work habits. Using wrist supports, taking frequent breaks, stretching your hands and wrists during work, and repositioning your chair or keyboard can help reduce the strain on your wrist that can result in inflammation and nerve impingement. Most importantly, be sure to seek care at the first sign of symptoms, since the condition is much easier to manage when caught early.