Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

carpal tunnel

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

The carpal tunnel is a space in the wrist where a nerve and nine tendons pass from the forearm into the hand. Carpal tunnel syndrome is a type of hand nerve entrapment that occurs when swelling in the carpal tunnel compresses the median nerve in your wrist. As a result of the pressure on the median nerve, patients with carpal tunnel syndrome may experience symptoms including:

  • Pain in the hand and fingers, including burning, tingling, and numbness
  • Pain in the wrist or hand, extending to the elbow
  • Sensation that the hand is swollen, even if it is not
  • Weakened grip and difficulty picking up small items
  • Problems with fine finger movements in one or both hands
  • Numbness in hands

This condition is common in people who perform repetitive wrist and hand motions, such as typing on a computer keyboard. It also affects those who grip tightly or uses their wrists consistently, such as cashiers, cyclists, meat cutters, and musicians. Learn more about carpal tunnel and other related conditions from the American Association of Hand Surgery.

Carpal Tunnel Diagnosis

Experts and MedStar health diagnose carpal tunnel syndrome using a combination of medical history, physical examination, and diagnostic testing such as nerve conduction studies and imaging.

Carpal Tunnel Treatment

The orthopaedic specialists at MedStar Union Memorial provide high-quality care for patients suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome.

Many nonsurgical courses of treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome are available, such as

  • Splints or braces to immobilize and rest the wrist
  • Adjustments to how you perform daily activities
  • Oral anti-inflammatory medications
  • Steroid injections

If nonsurgical carpal tunnel treatment is not successful or treatment is sought too late, surgery may be required. This surgery involves enlarging the carpal tunnel, which will relieve the swelling and pressure on the nerve.

Learn more about MedStar Health's approach to minimally invasive nerve surgery.

You can lower your risk of developing carpal tunnel symptoms by making adjustments that minimize the stress on your hands and wrists.

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