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Carpal tunnel syndrome and treatment

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition that can cause tingling, numbness, and weakness in your hand. This happens when the median nerve -- which runs the length of your arm and through your hand -- is compressed. This nerve controls the movement and feeling in your thumbs and fingers, with the exception of your pinky on each hand.

carpal tunnel

Carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms

If you might suspect that you are being affected by carpal tunnel syndrome, symptoms you may experience include:

  • Weakness in your hand and trouble holding items 
  • Burning, tingling, or an itching numbness in the palm of your hand or thumb, or your index and middle fingers
  • Shock-like feelings that move into your fingers
  • Tingling that moves up and in to your arm

Symptoms may be most noticeable at night, and can feel like your hand has fallen asleep. Once you wake up, you may notice the numbness and tingling in your hands has run up to your shoulders. Symptoms may go away after moving around, but after some time -- numbness may not go away on its own. 

Causes and risk factors

More often than not, people don't know what caused their carpal tunnel syndrome. Some common causes include:

  • Repetitive motions or any wrist movements that you do over and over again (typing, sorting parts, etc.)
  • Certain conditions like hypothyroidism, obesity, rheumatoid arthritis, and diabetes
  • Pregnancy
  • Underlying health issues like kidney failure and lymphedema

If you are unsure what caused your symptoms, you may have a better idea by knowing the risk factors of carpal tunnel syndrome. This can include:

  • Having family history of small carpal tunnels
  • Having a job in which you make the same motions over and over 
  • Fractures or dislocations of the wrist
  • Being a woman 

Treatment options

Diagnostic tests can be used to help your provider determine if you have carpal tunnel syndrome. These tests can be X-rays, MRIs, ultrasounds, and more. Once you have been diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome, there are a variety of ways you can treat it -- depending on how severe it is and your lifestyle.

Non-surgical treatment options

Carpal tunnel syndrome can be treated using non-surgical methods including:

  • Avoiding positions that overextend your wrist
  • Wearing a wrist splint
  • Taking over-the-counter or prescribed medication to reduce inflammation in the wrist (or steroid injections)
  • Treating/managing the underlying health conditions causing your carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Alternative therapies
  • Lifestyle changes

Surgical treatment option

Carpal tunnel release is a common surgical procedure used to treat carpal tunnel syndrome and its symptoms. 

Logansport Memorial's Hand Specialist

Dr. Ganesh Ramachandran completed a fellowship in orthopedic hand and microvascular surgery at the Christine M. Kleinert Institute for Hand and Micro Surgery at the University of Louisville School of Medicine in Kentucky. He treats pain and injury to wrist, hand, and fingers including carpal tunnel syndrome, trigger finger entrapment, deQuerveins disease, fractures , and tendon injuries. Dr. Ramachandran is located in the LMPN Orthopedics Suite, located at 1101 Michigan Avenue in Logansport. 

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For all of your orthopedic needs, including treating conditions and injuries to the hands, wrists, and fingers -- trust our Orthopedics team at Logansport Memorial Hospital for all of your care needs.

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TOPICS: Orthopedics