Your wrists are vital physical components. Performing simple actions, such as writing, typing, and lifting objects is difficult when experiencing any type of wrist pain. One particularly challenging condition impacting your wrists and surrounding structures is carpal tunnel syndrome.
The wrist contains a small passageway called the carpal tunnel surrounded by bones called carpals. The tunnel is also adjacent to important structures called the flexor tendons and the median nerve, which is one of the hand’s primary nerves and provides feeling in several fingers and controls muscle movements surrounding the thumb’s base.
When the tunnel becomes obstructed or damaged, subsequent damage could arise within the median nerve or flexor tendons.
Researchers attribute the malady to several factors.
Arguably, the most common factor is overuse. Repetitive hand or wrist motions increase your chances of incurring median nerve damage or tendon irritation.
Some people are born with congenitally small or ill-formed carpal tunnels, which possess the ability to damage surrounding tendons and place undue pressure on the median nerve.
If you are expecting, you might experience systemic hormonal alterations capable of inducing nerve and tissue swelling.
Underlying Medical Issues
Several health concerns, especially metabolic or autoimmune disorders could increase your risk of developing problematic tissue inflammation.
Physical manifestations often begin gradually and intensify as the ailment progresses.
The most common symptom you will likely encounter is wrist pain. This discomfort may present as a tingling and burning sensation. However, these feelings might also be accompanied by numbness or pain radiating through the fingers or even down your arm.
As carpal tunnel syndrome worsens, you might experience progressive weakness in the impacted hand. Additionally, your wrist might feel dull or clumsy. In severer instances, you might drop items, encounter challenges gripping items, or witness difficulties performing routine tasks like writing or lifting even the lightest implements like utensils.
Potential Therapeutic Options
The type of therapy your primary care or orthopedic specialist ultimately opts to employ will depend on several factors, such as your age, profession, physical condition, and, above all, the condition’s severity. That said, common therapeutic protocols include:
Mild to relatively moderate incidents might respond favorably to medications. Researchers have noted that associated pain might be lessened through the administration of over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory preparations.
Placing the afflicted wrist and hand inside an immobilization device like a splint or brace might offer temporary relief, especially during the sleeping hours. Additionally, if you work in a profession or engage in activities requiring continual or awkward hand or wrist motions, donning such apparatuses might render such actions more manageable.
Whenever applicable, you may witness improvement after ceasing symptom-inducing movements.
Moderate to significant cases might benefit from steroid injections. These powerful drugs are known for their inflammation-reducing capabilities.
The most serious incidents might necessitate surgical intervention. Commonly performed procedures include open tunnel release and endoscopic tunnel release.
Regardless of what treatment method you receive, all but the earliest stage or least severe cases will require some form of physical therapy. These are exercises tailored to help your wrist and hand maintain its strength and regain any lost motion.
If you have been diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome or have been experiencing associated symptoms, please contact us. The experienced hand and wrist specialists employed at the Plano Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Center can perform a comprehensive examination and create the most befitting treatment plan. More about us can be found by visiting http://www.posmc.com.
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To schedule an appointment with one our specialists, contact our scheduling department at 972-250-5700 or request an appointment online.
POSMC is a full-service medical facility specializing in the evaluation and treatment of orthopedic injuries. The practice is led by a group of 12 board-certified and fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeons and a physical medicine and rehabilitation physician. Contact us today!