Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by compression of the main nerve that travels through the palm side of the wrist to the thumb, index, middle, and part of the ring finger. In many cases, the exact cause is unknown, but factors that may play a role include diabetes, arthritis, and injury. It is postulated that frequent, repetitive motions of the wrist and hand, which occur during typing on a keyboard, may also contribute to carpal tunnel syndrome.
The most common symptoms are pain, numbness, and tingling in the thumb, index, and middle fingers. The pinky finger is not affected in carpal tunnel syndrome. Symptoms typically start gradually, and may come and go. Over time, symptoms may worsen and wake you up from sleep. Many people feel a need to ‘shake out’ their hand to relieve symptoms.
Sustained or repetitive hand movements such as driving or typing may also worsen symptoms. If carpal tunnel syndrome goes untreated, over time you may start to develop weakness in the hand or notice that the pinching muscles of the thumb are not as strong as they used to be. The nerve can be permanently damaged if this is allowed to continue without proper treatment.
Depending on your symptoms, Dr. Amin may recommend starting with conservative treatment. This may include special wrist braces that are worn at night to relieve symptoms. If bracing does not help, anti-inflammatories may be prescribed.
If symptoms are severe, longstanding, or not responsive to conservative treatment, Dr. Amin may offer surgery to treat carpal tunnel syndrome. Patients are discharged home the same day of surgery.