If you feel pain, weakness, or numbness in your wrist and hand, it may be caused by carpal tunnel syndrome. This condition occurs when your median nerve, which provides sensation to your fingers (all except your pinkie), becomes compressed due to pressure from leaning too much or for too long on the nerve – which runs through the carpal tunnel in your wrist and palm.
This pain or numbness can negatively impact your daily life, even the simplest activities. Carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms usually affect the thumb and index (pointer) finger, and sometimes also the middle and/or ring fingers. The sensation may feel like a pulse of electric shock, and the pain may reach and radiate into the arms.
Carpal tunnel syndrome, often just called “carpal tunnel,” may then lead to difficulty in gripping and grasping of objects. You may notice symptoms particularly when performing certain activities or when you are in cold temperatures.
Why Does Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Happen?
Carpal tunnel syndrome causes inflammation that may appear as swelling in your wrist. In many cases, the exact cause is unknown. However, most doctors believe that a combination of factors such as an underlying medical condition and repetitive hand and wrist motions can contribute to the development of carpal tunnel:
Underlying Medical Conditions
Pre-existing health conditions can sometimes obstruct blood flow to the wrist, causing swelling and inflammation. Also, nerve-damaging conditions can increase the risk of damage to the median nerve, which may also cause carpal tunnel syndrome.
Some of the diseases and health conditions which may contribute to carpal tunnel include the following:
- Autoimmune disorders
- Hormonal changes caused by pregnancy
- Thyroid problems
- Dislocation or fracture of wrist bones
Repetitive Motions and Wrist Position
Repetitive-motion injury of the wrist, and specific hand positions such as bending, forceful grasping, and overextending, can all contribute to the condition. Performing these motions can worsen the swelling and irritation of the lining around the tendons of the wrist, adding further pressure to your median nerve and narrowing or compressing the tunnel.
Repetitive motions may be the result of:
- Incorrect position of the wrists while using the computer keyboard and/or mouse
- Frequent overextending of the wrist required by your job
- Exposure to hand and power tool vibrations
Who Is at Risk of Carpal Tunnel?
People who are in occupations that involve repetitive-motion wrist movements are at a higher risk than others. These jobs include the following:
- Assembly line/factory
- Office jobs that require frequent use of the keyboard and/or mouse
Without treatment, carpal tunnel syndrome can have a significant negative impact on your quality of life. Once the median nerve is severely damaged, it can result in permanent numbness and weakness of the finger and hand muscles – so a medical evaluation is warranted if you experience any of its symptoms.
Carpal Tunnel Treatment in Sarasota and Bradenton
Carpal tunnel syndrome can cause long-term pain and weakness if not addressed. Intercoastal Medical Group orthopedic surgeons can diagnose your symptoms and determine the best treatment for you. We have two locations with experienced orthopedic physicians who can evaluate and treat you: In Sarasota, at Beneva Professional Center, 943. S. Beneva Road, Suite 106 (941) 955-6748 and at our Lakewood Ranch Medical Building, 11505 Rangeland Parkway, Bradenton, FL. 34211. (941) 362-8662.
You can also request an appointment now via our online form. We look forward to serving you!