As many as 10 million Americans have carpal tunnel syndrome. Many with the disorder have symptoms that are intense enough to require medical treatment.
Our orthopedic specialists at MidJersey Orthopaedics understand how painful carpal tunnel syndrome can be. We offer on-site diagnostic testing services at our offices in Flemington, Bridgewater, and Washington, New Jersey, to confirm carpal tunnel syndrome or other hand and wrist injuries, so you can get the treatment you deserve.
What to know about carpal tunnel syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a nerve disorder that affects the function of your wrist and hand. This type of disorder develops when there’s pressure on the median nerve that runs from your forearm, through your wrist, and into the palm of your hand.
Your median nerve travels through the carpal tunnel, a pathway made up of ligaments and bones in the base of your hand. If there’s inflammation or thickening in the soft tissues of the carpal tunnel, it can press on the median nerve and trigger a variety of uncomfortable symptoms.
You may be at increased risk for developing carpal tunnel syndrome if you work or engage in activities that involve repetitive movements of your wrist and hand.
Other possible risk factors for carpal tunnel syndrome include:
Women are more likely to develop carpal tunnel syndrome than men, especially if they have diabetes or another metabolic disorder that causes nerve damage.
Warning signs of carpal tunnel syndrome
The median nerve is responsible for providing sensations to each of your fingers, except the pinky finger. This nerve also controls some of the muscles in the base of your thumb.
Compression on this nerve causes symptoms that affect your wrist, hand, and fingers. Symptoms tend to start gradually, and you may first notice some tingling or numbness in your fingers and hand, especially when you type on a computer or do other activities that put pressure on your wrist.
As carpal tunnel syndrome progresses, numbness, weakness, and pain in your wrist and fingers may become more frequent. It may be difficult to grasp objects with your fingers or hold things in your hand. Many people feel like they need to shake their wrist and hands to relieve pins-and-needles sensations that can occur with activity.
When carpal tunnel syndrome is advanced and there’s damage in your median nerve, you may not be able to feel sensations or notice temperature differences in your hand and fingers. At this stage, its possible that you could burn or cut yourself without knowing it, which can increase your risk for infections, scars, and other complications.
Treatment options for carpal tunnel syndrome
Treating carpal tunnel syndrome in the earliest stages can help you avoid the progression of the disorder. Our orthopedic hand and wrist specialists can often relieve your pain and other symptoms with nonsurgical methods. These may include:
- Activity modification
- Physical therapy
- Splinting or bracing
- Joint injections
- Anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving medications
We also offer platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections to relieve inflammation in the carpal tunnel that’s pressing on the median nerve. PRP is a substance found naturally in your body that contains growth factors. These growth factors stimulate your body to produce new, healthy cells to replace what’s damaged by injury or disease.
If conservative therapies aren’t enough to treat advanced carpal tunnel symptoms, you may be a candidate for surgery. Our orthopedic surgeons use minimally invasive surgical techniques to release the compression on your median nerve by removing thickened ligaments to create more space in the carpal tunnel.
If you have symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome, schedule a diagnostic evaluation online or call the office of MidJersey Orthopaedics nearest you today.