Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Pain, weakness, numbness, and tingling of the hand, thumb, and first three fingers may be a sign of carpal tunnel syndrome. Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by irritation of a major nerve that passes from the forearm to the hand through a small bony passage, knows as the carpal tunnel. The nerve irritation can be triggered by:

  • Illnesses like hypothyroidism, arthritis, and diabetes
  • Pregnancy
  • Overuse of the wrists at work or home

Treatment options include pain medications, splinting the wrist, rest, and applying ice. If these methods don’t give you relief, and especially if nerve tests reveal that you have nerve damage, your doctor will refer you to an orthopedic surgeon for evaluation.

If surgery is recommended, your surgeon will perform the procedure through an open incision at the base of your palm or by a smaller incision for a minimally invasive endoscopic technique. During surgery, your surgeon cuts the transverse carpal ligament to relieve pressure on the nerve.

Usually, patients are put under local anesthesia and require no overnight hospital stay. The surgeon will monitor your response to surgery over successive weeks. You should avoid heavy lifting during that period and avoid activities that cause the repetitive use of the wrist, such as typing and other keyboard-based movements.