Carpal tunnel syndrome is a nerve problem that affects the forearms, wrists, hands, and fingers. It is often associated with repetitive fine-motor activities.
Pressure on the median nerve stretching from the forearm to the hand causes carpal tunnel syndrome. The median nerve passes through a narrow tunnel (called the carpal tunnel) in the wrist. Wrist bones border one side and a strong ligament covers the palm side of the wrist. The nerve controls feeling and allows you to move some of the muscles in your hand. Many things increase the likelihood of inflamed tissues pressing the median nerve.
The risk of carpal tunnel syndrome is greater in people who:
- Have smaller carpal tunnels, a trait that runs in families
- Frequently perform repetitive tasks with their hands and arms such as typing, playing an instrument, or working with machinery
- Are older
- Are female
- Have certain chronic medical conditions, including thyroid imbalance, diabetes, kidney failure, and rheumatoid arthritis
Think you may have carpal tunnel syndrome in Las Vegas or Henderson, NV? Dignity Health - St. Rose Dominican hospitals has a team of expert orthopedists that can provide the right diagnosis and treatment. Find an orthopedist who practices at St. Rose Dominican today.
Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Tingling and numbness in the hand and fingers, particularly the thumb, index, and middle fingers, are common symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.
You may also experience:
- Pain or burning sensation in your fingers, hand, wrist, and forearm
- Weakness in your hand and wrist
- Difficulty or feeling clumsy while performing fine-motor movements such as writing, using a computer mouse, or holding a mug
Symptoms usually appear gradually and tend to be worse when the wrists are curled or when gripping smaller objects such as a phone.
Diagnosing & Treating Carpal Tunnel at Dignity Health - St. Rose Dominican Hospitals
Your doctor will start with a physical exam and your medical history to diagnose carpal tunnel syndrome. A physical exam can assess hand and finger sensation, strength, and function.
To confirm the diagnosis and measure the severity of your condition — or rule out related conditions such as arthritis — you may have X-rays and electrodiagnostic tests, including an electromyography (EMG) or a nerve conduction study (NCS) to test nerve function.
Early treatment and movement modifications can greatly relieve or even stop carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms. Your doctor at Dignity Health - St. Rose Dominican may suggest:
- Splint or brace to hold your wrist in a position that is less likely to pinch your nerve
- Changing repetitive motions and body positioning to ease the irritation in the wrist and hand that may be compressing the nerve
- Medications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to ease inflammation
- Steroid injections for short-term pain relief
- Surgery to increase the size of the carpal tunnel and relieve pressure on the median nerve
Dignity Health - St. Rose Dominican cares for patients with carpal tunnel syndrome in Las Vegas and Henderson, NV.