Have you ever thought about how crucial your wrists and hands are to practically every day to day activity you do? Your wrists and hands are made of a complex system of bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and other connective tissue. All of these components work together to form a seamless (and painless) process through which you use your hands.
One orthopedic condition that affects the wrist and hand is called Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. There is a nerve located in the wrist called the median nerve. This is the main nerve in the front of the forearm and is responsible for carrying sensation and muscle movement signals to the brain. You have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome when the median nerve becomes compressed.
Carpal tunnel symptoms include pain, a tingling sensation, and numbness in the thumb and index, middle, and ring fingers. As the condition progresses, you may feel these symptoms spread to the wrist and arm. Another common carpal tunnel symptom is weakness in the hand. You may notice you have difficulty grasping and holding the weight of things you previously had no trouble handling. Examples include a coffee mug, a bag of groceries, a gallon of milk, etc. Symptoms are likely to be worse at night or when you are in a cold environment.
Carpal tunnel can be easily treated without surgery for most people. Treatments focus on relieving pain symptoms and helping your hand heal from the compression injury. After giving you a thorough examination and determining the extent of your condition, your doctor may recommend one or more of the following as treatment:
- Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications to relieve pain symptoms
- Corticosteroid injections to help relieve pain symptoms
- Wrist splints to reduce symptoms while you sleep (worn on the affected wrist at night)
- Rest to help the median nerve heal
For most people, a combination of these treatment methods does the trick to relieve carpal tunnel symptoms. However, if these methods do not work for you, your doctor may recommend surgery to fix the issue. This is also recommended for individuals with severe cases of the condition. The surgery performed to treat carpal tunnel is called an open release procedure. The median nerve sits in the carpal tunnel. This procedure involves making the carpal tunnel bigger so the median nerve is no longer compressed within it.
Another surgical procedure performed to treat carpal tunnel is an endoscopic carpal tunnel release procedure. This procedure involves using endoscopic technology (image-guided, less invasive) to make the carpal tunnel bigger. This procedure offers fewer and smaller scars, less pain, and shorter recovery times for patients.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Treatment in Watertown, New York
If you or a loved one have symptoms similar to the carpal tunnel symptoms described above, get it checked out by a doctor before symptoms worsen. Contact North Country Orthopaedic Group in Watertown, New York to see a board-certified and highly experienced orthopedic physician. Make an appointment by calling (315) 782-1650 or request an appointment online.