What are the Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a painful condition affecting one of the nerves that provides both feeling and function to the hand. It occurs when the median nerve, which supplies feeling to the thumb and first two fingers, becomes entrapped—that is, pinched or irritated—where it travels through the carpal tunnel, a narrow space between the bones at the base of the hand.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is usually due to repetitive strain, and symptoms typically start out mild and progress the longer the condition is left untreated. The earliest symptoms are usually numbness and tingling in the affected fingers and wrist discomfort. Initially, symptoms will come and go but as the condition progresses, they may become constant.
In this blog, the Long Island carpal tunnel specialists at Mirza Orthopedics will address some of the symptoms of carpal tunnel and explain possible treatments.
What are the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome?
If you have carpal tunnel syndrome, you will experience some or all of the following symptoms:
- Numbness and tingling sensation in your hand. The symptoms of carpal tunnel mainly affect your thumb, first two fingers, and the inner half of your ring finger. Numbness and tingling in your pinky finger is not a carpal tunnel symptom.
- The feeling that your thumb, first two fingers, and/or ring finger have “fallen asleep.” This may be worse when you’re gripping something.
- Discomfort or actual pain in your hand or in your wrist
- Pain that travels up your arm toward your shoulder
Symptoms of carpal tunnel usually come and go at the outset, then become more constant as the condition progresses. In the early stages, for example, you may find that your fingers “fall asleep” when you grip the steering wheel for too long, but the feeling subsides once you move on to other activities. When the condition is more advanced, the symptoms may be ongoing.
In severe cases that have gone untreated for an extended period of time, you may also:
- Have weakness in your fingers and lose grip strength
- Have reduced coordination in your fingers
- Lose muscle at the base of your thumb
What are some of the treatments for carpal tunnel syndrome?
In most cases, conservative measures are the first line of treatment for symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. Conservative treatments may include:
- Taking an anti-inflammatory medication to reduce inflammation and swelling and to relieve pain
- Wearing a wrist brace or splint, especially at night. This keeps the wrist in a neutral position and relieves pressure on the median nerve.
- Avoiding activities that make symptoms worse
- Getting steroid injections to reduce inflammation
If conservative measures don’t provide relief, or if the condition is severe, surgery may be an option. Surgery is not generally considered until conservative treatment options have been exhausted, and is most often used for patients’ whose symptoms are constant and debilitating, or who have experienced loss of muscle in their thumbs.
Looking for cutting-edge carpal tunnel syndrome surgery in Long Island?
At Mirza Orthopedics in Smithtown, Dr. Ather Mirza and Dr. Justin Mirza offer a carpal tunnel surgery system that ensures the safest, least invasive surgery possible. This unique system utilizes a clear cannula (a small tube), which completely protects the median nerve while still allowing 360-degree visualization of the nerve and transverse ligament throughout the procedure. By using this system, combined with a patented scope-mounting blade, the surgeon is able to view and precisely release the transverse carpal ligament both easily and safely.
Mirza Orthopedics’ minimally invasive endoscopic carpal tunnel surgery leads to improved patient recovery times and a faster return to normal activities. If you’re suffering from the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome, you don’t have to live with them any longer. Schedule your consultation at Mirza Orthopedics today.