Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is characterized by numbness, tingling and weakness in the hand caused by pressure exerted on a major nerve and tendons in the wrist.

The carpal tunnel is a narrow passageway on the palm side of the wrist through which passes the median nerve and these tendons.  It usually starts, gradually, with numbness in the thumb, index and middle fingers that, at first, may appear to come and go and ten as it progressively worsens, remains constant.  It generally affects women more frequently than men.

Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome include:

  • Tingling or numbness of the thumb, index finger and middle fingers
  • Weakness of the hand with difficulty holding on to objects

Compression of the median nerve can be caused by a few different factors.  Some people have naturally occurring smaller carpal tunnels which can lead to increased likelihood of damage.  Any damage to treat area of the wrist can cause a problem.  A previous wrist fracture or anything that may cause swelling in that area can lead to the problem developing.  In addition, there are certain health related issues such as diabetes, hypothyroidism and arthritis which can be associated with this condition. 

Temporary relief from the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome can be addressed by:

  • Taking quick breaks from repetitive activities of the hand
  • Rotate your wrists and stretch your palms and fingers
  • Avoid sleeping on your hands and wrists
  • Ultrasound therapy which makes the area of the wrist warm and more flexible

Treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome really depends on what the cause is and how severe it has become.  If symptoms appear, never wait too long before seeking treatment options as this can lead to permanent damage.  Some simple remedies include stopping any activity that may be compressing the nerve, putting ice on the wrist for 10-15 minutes once or twice an hour, taking anti-inflammatory medications to reduce swelling, and wearing a night splint to take the pressure off of the nerve.

Some cases can be helped with injections of corticosteroids.  When the condition is really severe, surgical intervention may be required.  If you are experiencing the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome and would like to be treated by an orthopedic physician at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, please call 718-206-6923 to schedule an appointment.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.