Carpal tunnel syndrome affects many Americans by causing moderate to severe pain in the wrist while performing day-to-day activities. If you are experiencing carpal tunnel, you may notice things that used to be easy, like typing or writing, might start to become nearly impossible tasks.
What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
The carpal tunnel is a structure in the wrist formed by the carpal bones, flexor tendons, the medial nerve, and the carpal ligament. Carpal tunnel syndrome effects the tissues around the medial nerve (synovium), causing it to swell, making it difficult for you to move your wrist and hand. In time, accumulated swelling causes the medial nerve to become crowded, causing pain.
What Causes Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
There is not one direct cause of carpal tunnel syndrome, although, there are several identified risk factors. For example, women tend to get carpal tunnel syndrome more often than men. Additionally, age plays a role in the likelihood that you will get carpal tunnel syndrome, as it is more often experienced by elderly patients.
The development of carpal tunnel has been linked to some additional factors, including:
- The size of your carpal tunnel (people with smaller carpal tunnels are more likely to have problems)
- Hormones released during pregnancy
- Other medical conditions such as arthritis, diabetes, and thyroid problems
- Prolonged use of your hands
If you talk to an orthopedic specialist about the possibility of having carpal tunnel syndrome before the problem worsens, non-surgical treatment will likely be all that is needed. Non-surgical treatments include: braces, splints, steroid injections, activity change, and medications.
In severe cases of carpal tunnel syndrome, surgery may be required.
To determine which treatment method will work best for your condition, talk to one of our orthopedic hand specialists.