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Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS)

Carpal Tunnel Wrist PainCarpal Tunnel Syndrome refers to a group of symptoms involving compression or entrapment of the median nerve as it crosses from the forearm to the hand.

How does this happen?
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is the result of pressure on the median nerve at the wrist causing numbness, tingling, and/or burning. You may drop things if your fingers have lost their normal sensation (usually the thumb, index, long, and middle fingers). Many patients experience being awakened out of sleep and can have trouble holding their toothbrush or putting on jewelry. CTS is common during pregnancy as is tendonitis of the wrist due to increased vascular volume.

Carpal Tunnel PainHow will we know that this is your problem?
The diagnosis of carpal tunnel syndrome is usually made by a combination of your history, pain symptoms, as well as your physical exam. Your doctor may order an EMG/Nerve Conduction Study if needed to decide severity. 

How can this be treated?
The initial treatment for CTS usually involves night splints worn loosely along with rest and a steroid injection. It is often recommended that you evaluate your work station or desk to make sure that you are able to use correct posture and positioning. When non-operative measures do not provide relief, then surgery may be necessary. Surgery consists of releasing the ligament at the wrist to give the nerve and the surrounding flexor tendons more room, hence relieving the pressure off of the nerve.

Diagram of the carpal tunnel »


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