Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: Causes, Symptoms, Treatments - Dr.Burke Orthopedics

DEFINITION

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is the most common type of arthritis caused by nerve irritation or damage.  It is a localized form of arthritis, affecting mainly the wrist joint and by extension the elbow and the shoulder joint. Carpal tunnel is a space within the wrist joint where the main nerves of the hand pass through. The median nerve which innervates the thumb, index, middle and ring finger passes through the carpal tunnel along with tendons, ligaments and bones. All these structures are contained in the carpal tunnel. The syndrome of carpal tunnel occurs when the median nerve is slightly squeezed, compressed or destroyed.

CAUSES OF CARPAL TUNNEL SYNDROME

The etiological factors of CTS-associated arthritis are based on either direct or indirect injury to the median nerve. The following factors play a key role in either causing arthritis or in increasing the risk of CTS-associated arthritis:

  • Repetitive hand movements
  • Poor hand postures e.g. prolonged wrist flexion
  • Trauma to the wrist e.g. dislocation, fracture etc.
  • Pregnancy
  • Familial history
  • Inflammation e.g. synovitis
  • Existing comorbidities e.g. thyroid disease, DM, Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • A sharp increase in BMI
  • Square-shaped wrist
  • Short stature

SYMPTOMS OF CARPAL TUNNEL SYNDROME

CTS-associated arthritis is typically localized on the dominant hand. The symptoms originate from the distal part of the hand radiating towards the shoulder joint. Generally, a person will complain of:

  • Shooting pain in the wrist joint
  • Severely impaired movements i.e. a person is unable to put on a shirt
  • In some cases, swelling around the wrist joint is noted
  • Numbness and tingling in the hand
  • Night symptoms are reported to interrupt sleep
  • Flexion of the wrist joint with marked weakness causing significant impairment in grasp reflexes

TREATMENT OF CARPAL TUNNEL SYNDROME

CTS is treatable. Its associated arthritis can be well-managed with pharmacological therapy. Our orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Burke, has successfully treated thousands of patients with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. His approach is dependent on the severity of injury on the median nerve. The following are the treatment options offered by Dr. Burke:

  • Prescription NSAIDs
  • Local steroid injections
  • Wrist splint
  • Night – resting splint
  • Day – working splint
  • Bracing
  • Nerve gliding exercises
  • Proper use of ice-packs

If you ever experience symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, contact our orthopedic specialist, Dr. Burke, for quality treatment that can guarantee symptom resolution and disease cure.