Treating Hand, Wrist, & Forearm Pain
Do you spend your days using a computer, sorting mail, or assembling small parts? If your workplace duties put stress on your wrists, you may be at risk for carpal tunnel syndrome.
What Is Carpal Tunnel?
Carpal tunnel happens when the median nerve, which travels through your wrist from your forearm to your hand, becomes squeezed. In healthy wrists, your median nerve is protected by your carpal tunnel, which is a narrow passageway of ligament and bone. If your tendons, which also pass through the carpal tunnel, become thickened or swell, then your carpal tunnel passageway narrows, pressing on your median nerve.
What Are the Causes of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
The most common cause of carpal tunnel appears to be heredity; some people simply have smaller tunnels and have a higher chance of developing the problem. A risk factor is anything that increases your chances of developing a condition or disease. Risk factors that may contribute to carpal tunnel include:
- Having a smaller carpal tunnel than normal,
- Suffering a wrist sprain or fracture that causes swelling,
- Having an overactive pituitary gland,
- Having thyroid disorders,
- Living with rheumatoid arthritis,
- Having diabetes,
- Repeatedly using vibrating tools,
- Putting stress on your wrist at work,
- Having fluid build up in your joints caused by pregnancy, and
- Having a cyst or tumor in your carpal tunnel passageway.
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What Are the Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel?
Symptoms of carpal tunnel come on slowly and can be in one or both hands. Other symptoms include pain in your wrist and forearm; weakness and loss of movement in your hand; numbness in your fingers (except the little and ring fingers); tingling in your fingers when your wrist is tapped; and decreased grip strength.
To determine if you have carpal tunnel and what your treatment options are, please schedule an appointment with one of our plastic and reconstructive surgery specialists.