Learn the causes, symptoms and treatment options for carpal tunnel syndrome.
Naveen Setty, MD, recently spoke to H2U participants at Medical Center of McKinney about a number of hand conditions and their treatment options. Today's post is the second in a series that shares information from the seminar about hand pain, hand conditions and how they may be treated. Here, we will be focusing on the causes of and treatment options for carpal tunnel syndrome.
What is carpal tunnel syndrome?
The hand is a complex group of structures including numerous nerves, bones, tendons and muscles. All of this is contained within a small space. If swelling results from specific or frequent movements or other medical conditions, pressure may be put on the median nerve causing pain. Sometimes the exact cause is not known. The median nerve runs down the center of the hand and provides nerve function for a significant portion of the hand. If left untreated, this condition can affect long-term feeling and function.
What are the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome?
Symptoms begin with numbness and pain in the middle finger and then start to include the thumb, index finger, and ring finger. Pain initially is worse at night but progresses so that is occurs all the time. Without treatment, nerve cells can die, patients can experience a loss of grip strength and the muscles will begin to atrophy.
How is carpal tunnel syndrome treated?
Non-surgical options are always considered first when treating carpal tunnel syndrome. Splints can bring relief to minor cases of this condition. It is also recommended that patients avoid the hand motions that caused the condition during recovery. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs may be prescribed to reduce pain and inflammation.
In more serious cases that could cause long-term disability, surgery may be recommended. Common surgical options are:
- Open carpal tunnel release surgery. This is a more invasive option and requires a possibly longer recovery with good long-term results.
- Endoscopic carpal tunnel release. Most opt for this option as it requires a small, less than one-inch incision and offers a much faster recovery with equal long-term results.
Medical Center of McKinney has been routinely recognized for its expert team of surgeons and medical specialists. Visit us online to learn more or call 1-855-296-6365 for a physician referral.