Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Treatment Specialist in Houston, TX
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition that affects the hand and wrist. It occurs when the median nerve, which runs from the forearm into the hand through a narrow passageway called the carpal tunnel. If you would like to know more about Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, its causes, and treatment, contact ROC Reconstructive Orthopedic Center in Houston, TX. For more information, contact us today or schedule an appointment online. We are conveniently located at 1200 Binz St, Suite 100, Houston, TX 77004.
Table of Contents:
What are the five symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome?
What happens if carpal tunnel syndrome is not treated?
How can I check myself for carpal tunnel syndrome?
How can you tell the difference between carpal tunnel syndrome and arthritis?
The hands are arguably one of the most used parts of the body, and we rely on pain-free and unrestricted use of them in our day-to-day activities. The hand and wrist are composed of many small bones known as the phalanges (the bones of the fingers and thumb), the metacarpals (the bones that make up the middle part of the hand), and carpals (the bones that create the wrist).
In addition to these bones, numerous muscles, ligaments, and tendons cause the hand and wrist to move, and arteries, veins, and nerves provide blood flow and sensation to the hand and fingers. With all these moving parts and the amount we use our hands, it’s not surprising that things can, and sometimes do, go wrong, an example of which is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, or CTS. This condition occurs through overuse of the hand(s), causing the tendons inside the carpal tunnel area to become irritated and swollen. The carpal tunnel holds the tendons that move the fingers, along with the median nerve which extends from the forearm to the palm of the hand. When swelling compresses the median nerve it results in numbness and pain in the wrist, hand, and sometimes the forearm and arm.
The symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome usually start gradually, with no specific injury. Many patients find that their symptoms are intermittent at first but, as the condition worsens, they become more frequent and last for more extended periods of time.
Five symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome are:
● Numbness, tingling, burning, and pain—except in the little finger
● Occasional shock-like sensations in the thumb and fingers, except the little finger.
● Pain or tingling that may go up the forearm toward the shoulder
● Weakness and clumsiness in the hand which may make it difficult to do things fine motor tasks like buttoning or fastening clothes
● Dropping things—due to weakness or numbness
Many people sleep with their wrists bent which makes night-time symptoms very common and can sometimes result in poor sleep quality. Symptoms experienced during the day can be caused by holding something for an extended period of time with the wrist bent forward or backward, such as when driving, using a phone, or reading a book.
If left untreated, carpal tunnel syndrome can lead to weakness in the wrist and hand, a lack of coordination, and permanent nerve damage. Make an appointment with a doctor as soon as you start seeing symptoms; early action could mean avoiding lasting damage.
If you suspect you have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, you should see a doctor and get a proper diagnosis as there are other medical issues that can mimic CTS, such as a pinched nerve in the neck or elbow. There are, however, some simple tests that you can perform at home while waiting to see your doctor which will indicate if CTS could be causing your symptoms.
● One test is called Phalen’s Maneuver. Hold the backs of your hands firmly together with your fingers pointing down and keeping your arms parallel to the floor. If you experience numbness, tingling, pain, or a combination of the three, within 60 seconds this could be an indication of CTS.
● Another test is: hold your arms out in front of you, flex your wrists, and let your hands hang down for about 60 seconds. Again, tingling, numbness, or pain in the fingers within 60 seconds are indications that you may have CTS.
You won’t always be able to tell if you have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome or arthritis because they can happen at the same time and cause similar symptoms. Although they are two distinct conditions, arthritis can sometimes lead to carpal tunnel syndrome by causing swelling and bony growths in the wrist. Carpal tunnel syndrome, on the other hand, doesn’t cause arthritis. The key differences between the two are:
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome:
● Location: wrist(s)
● Cause: repetitive movements and inflammation
● Pain: thumb, index, and middle fingers, sometimes whole hand, wrist, arm shoulder, or neck
● Other symptoms: numbness, weakness, tingling in middle fingers and thumb
● Occurring: Usually worse at night, in the morning, or all day, and during certain activities
● Location: any joint but typically large joints, like the wrist
● Cause: wear and tear, repetitive movements, inflammation
● Pain: at the ends of finger joints and the base of the thumb
● Other symptoms: swelling, stiffness, tenderness, weakness
● Occurring: upon movement, stiffness after resting or sleeping
For more information, contact us today or schedule an appointment online. We are conveniently located at 1200 Binz St, Suite 100, Houston, TX 77004. We serve patients from Houston TX, Midtown TX, Montrose TX, MacGregor TX, South Central Houston TX, Old Braeswood TX, and surrounding areas.
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