Every year one out of three Americans is diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome. Hand and wrist pain, numbness, and tingling in the fingers, hand, and arm are some of the most common early symptoms. Night-time symptoms can be particularly noticeable and unpleasant. With early intervention, many people experience carpal tunnel relief. Left untreated, carpal tunnel syndrome can cause more serious problems such as nerve damage.
At EmergeOrtho, our fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeons routinely provide comprehensive diagnosis, treatment, and prevention measures for carpal tunnel syndrome. If you have been experiencing discomfort, pain, or other symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome, do not wait for help. Turn to the experts in providing compassionate, quality, subspecialty orthopedic care.
How to Get Relief From Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
The carpal tunnel is a narrow connection of ligament and bone at the base of the hand. This space houses the median nerve, along with the flexor tendons that flex (bend) the fingers and thumb. Carpal tunnel syndrome is a result of the median nerve being pressed and squeezed at the wrist. When this type of compression occurs, carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms include:
- Feeling like the hand is falling asleep
- Experiencing pain and/or weakness in the hand or wrist
- Sensation of numbness, burning, or tingling in the hands
- Difficulty grabbing items
Many people are curious how carpal tunnel syndrome develops. According to The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS), strong evidence supports an increased risk of carpal tunnel syndrome correlating to body mass index (BMI) and a high hand/wrist repetition rate.
Additionally, moderate evidence demonstrates the following criteria as risk factors for developing carpal tunnel syndrome:
- Occupations that require forceful grip or hand and wrist exertion (computer work, assembly line activity, etc.)
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Distal upper-extremity tendinopathies
- Psychosocial factors
Consulting with an orthopedic specialist can help to determine possible causes of carpal tunnel syndrome and develop a personalized treatment plan.
Both conservative and surgical intervention can provide carpal tunnel relief and return patients to the activities they enjoy.
Non-Surgical Carpal Tunnel Treatment
At EmergeOrtho, our physicians are committed to implementing non-surgical solutions for orthopedic conditions whenever possible. This includes conservative treatment options such as:
- Activity Modifications
Symptoms may be worsened when the hand and/or wrist remain in the same position for extended periods of time. Making changes to a workstation or activity modification may be recommended.
- Steroid Injections
Evidence-based research supports steroid injections in improving carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms and improved patient-reported outcomes.
- Bracing and Splinting
Wearing a brace or splint can help keep the wrist in a neutral position to prevent pressure from impacting the median nerve.
Your orthopedic surgeon may prescribe nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to reduce pain and inflammation. Steroid (corticosteroid or cortisone) injections can also be helpful in addressing the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.
Surgical Intervention for Carpal Tunnel Relief
Surgery is often recommended when carpal ligament pain is severe or non-surgical carpal tunnel relief treatment methods have been unsuccessful. Carpal tunnel release is one of the most commonly performed surgical procedures in the U.S.—and at EmergeOrtho.
When it comes to conservative versus surgical treatment, surgical treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome has a greater treatment benefit at 6 to 12 months compared to splinting, medication, and a single steroid injection.
Carpal tunnel surgery enables the release of the pressure applied to the median nerve—hence the name “carpal tunnel release surgery.” Patients often experience carpal tunnel relief immediately following surgery. Full recovery, however, may take months. Your surgeon will discuss hand therapy options with you following surgery, if necessary or desired.
Carpal tunnel release surgery can be performed in a traditional open approach with a small incision in the palm, or via an endoscopic approach, similar to arthroscopy—using small incisions and a camera to look at and then release the ligament pressing on the nerve. Your surgeon can review options with you regarding which technique might suit you.
In the therapy clinic, a patient learns different exercises which will help the wrist regain strength. Often, patients can use their hands during light activities after surgery. Most patients recover completely, and the recurrence of carpal tunnel syndrome post-surgery is rare.
Emerge Out of Pain and Into Comfort
At EmergeOrtho, we are the regional experts for providing carpal tunnel relief. Our knowledgeable orthopedic surgeons can help you return to your day-to-day activities. Don’t put off uncomfortable carpal tunnel symptoms when you can Emerge Stronger. Healthier. Better.
Request a visit with one of our EmergeOrtho doctors now.