What is carpal tunnel syndrome?
A hand and arm condition which is caused by a pinched nerve in the wrist is known as carpal tunnel syndrome. The condition causes tingling, numbness and other symptoms in patients. Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by various factors, such as:
- The anatomy of the wrist
- Underlying health conditions
- Patterns of hand use
The carpal tunnel is a thin tube located near the palm side of the wrist. It is covered with bones and ligaments. The main nerve to the hand and the nine tendons that help to bend the fingers are protected by the carpal tunnel. Fortunately, carpal tunnel syndrome can be cured with proper treatment.
What are the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome?
Numbness and tingling are the first stage symptoms of the condition. It progresses gradually and causes other symptoms too.
Numbness or tingling: The patient may experience numbness in the fingers and hand. This symptom may increase as the condition progresses.
Weakness: The patient will experience weakness in the hands. As a result, there can be a tendency to drop objects hold in the hand. If the symptoms persist for long, it is time to see the doctor and seek medical help.
What are the causes of carpal tunnel syndrome?
Compression in the median nerve is the main cause of carpal tunnel syndrome. The median nerve travels through the carpal tunnel tube in the hand. The carpal tunnel tube controls the sensation and motor function of the hand and fingers (except the little finger). When the median nerve is irritated by any crowd, it can compress the median nerve and finally leads to carpal tunnel syndrome.
A wrist fracture can also become a cause for carpal tunnel syndrome by narrowing the carpal tunnel and irritating the nerve. Swelling and inflammation due to rheumatoid arthritis can also lead to carpal tunnel syndrome. A single cause cannot be identified in many cases. A combination of risk factors can lead to the development of carpal tunnel syndrome.
How is carpal tunnel syndrome diagnosed?
The doctor will suggest various tests and diagnostic procedures to determine carpal tunnel syndrome. Some of them include:
- Symptom analysis
- Physical examination
- Nerve conduction study
How is carpal tunnel syndrome treated?
It is important to start the treatment as soon as the condition is determined. The treatment may vary according to the severity of the condition. Some of the common treatment options include:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammtory drugs
- Wrist splinting
Open surgery: It is the traditional surgical option to treat carpal tunnel syndrome. During the surgery, the surgeon will create an incision in the palm over the carpal tunnel tube. The surgeon will make a cut over there to make the nerve free from ligaments.
Endoscopic surgery: A telescope is used in an endoscopic surgery. The telescope will have a camera attached to it. This will enable an inner view of the carpal tunnel. By making one or more incisions in the hand or wrist, the surgeon will make a cut over the ligament.
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