What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition of the wrist, commonly affecting women over 45 years old, where compression of the median nerve within the carpal tunnel causes pain, weakness and altered sensation of the wrist and hand, increasing in severity as compression increases in amount and duration.
The carpal tunnel is formed by a collection of bones at the back of the wrist and a ligament at the front. Structures like blood vessels, nerves and flexor tendons travel through the carpal tunnel. Carpel tunnel syndrome occurs when swelling within the carpal tunnel builds and compresses the medial nerve which passes through it. Swelling within the carpal tunnel is linked to gender, hereditory factors, pregnancy, hormone changes, repetitive wrist activities and rheumatoid arthritis.
Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome include electric shock and burning pain, pins and needles, numbness, and weakness of the wrist and hand which may come and go at the beginning of the condition and remain more constant and severe as the condition worsens.
Chronic wrist pain? You need a wrist expert!
If you have constant wrist pain that simply won't go away, don't wait until your hands begin to tingle or go numb.
If you have a painful wrist condition, it is important to treat it quickly before it becomes a chronic condition and causes additional injury.
Dr Gupta is a qualified wrist & hand expert and available to help you with your condition. Book a consult to see Dr Gupta online by using our booking form.
Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome may have the following symptoms;
- Wrist pain
- Electric shock sensations in the thumb and index finger
- Altered wrist and hand sensation including pins and needles, numbness and burning sensations
- Weakness and cramping of the hand
- Shooting pain up the arm
What Causes Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by swelling of the carpal tunnel caused by;
- Hormonal changes
- Hereditory conditions
- Repetitive wrist activities
- Rheumatoid arthritis
As the amount of compression and duration of compression increases, so too do symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.
Repetitive overuse activities
There is evidence to suggest that repetitive wrist flexion and extension activities may cause or contribute to the condition. Repetitive house hold tasks such as washing, ironing and cooking or work place tasks such as holding and using electric tools and typing are activities which may cause swelling in the wrist and therefore cause or contribute to carpal tunnel syndrome.
There is evidence to suggest that trigger factors may cause a auto-immune response and swelling of the wrist at the carpal tunnel.
Diagnosing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
To diagnose the condition , the consultant will question the patient to:
- Understand the nature of the injury (sports, work, accident, overuse etc)
- Determine the cause of the injury (impact, collision, fall, repetitive/slow onset)
- Understand the context of the suffering (age, return to sport, work, impact on daily living)
- Perform a physical examination to ascertain pain and swelling
- Perform specialised wrist tests to confirm diagnosis
Acute Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Acute injury can be determined by compressing the wrist to check if symptoms occur.
Chronic Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Chronic injury is not so obvious to test since many wrist structures may be affected by this stage. You may be suffering advanced loss of strength and altered sensation of the hand and forearm.
X-Ray, MRI and diagnostic tests are used to uncover the presence of any fractures and the severity, size and location of the suspected injury.
Early diagnosis and treatment of the condition is extremely important to avoid complex chronic conditions.
Dr Manish Gupta is a qualified wrist & hand expert and available to help you with your condition.
Book a consult to see Dr Gupta online by using our booking form.
Treatment of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a painful wrist condition. Dr Gupta is an experienced Orthopaedic surgeon and consultant who has treated many types of painful wrist conditions.
Treatment should always begin with a thorough diagnosis to understand the severity of the condition in the context of your age, your work and your life to understand what is important to you about your recovery.
Acute episodes can be treated non-surgically using;
- Pain and anti-inflammatory medication
- Physiotherapy rehab protocol
- Night wrist splints
Chronic conditions may be treated non-surgically, however, if pain persists, surgical intervention is an option.
Surgery invovles releasing the carpal tunnel ligament from the wrist, freeing the structures below, and decompressing the trapped nerve causing the symptoms.
Post Operative Rehab Treatment
Dr Gupta uses a proven rehabilitation process for each of his operative procedures. Find out more about our rehab here at our Post-Op Carpal Tunnel Rehab Protocol.
Dr Gupta is a qualified wrist & hand expert and available to help you with your wrist condition.
For bookings, please call 02 9687 9344, or make an online booking to secure an appointment with a professional.