Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common condition affecting the hand and wrist. It occurs when the median nerve, which is responsible for sending signals of sensations and muscle movement in your hand, becomes compressed and inflamed. When this happens, you may find it challenging to use and move your hand as you normally would. It is always best to diagnose and address this condition early on before it gets worse. Below are some warning signs of carpal tunnel syndrome that you should look out for.
Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome occur slowly. Nighttime and mild symptoms are likely to appear first. The first reported warning signs include numbness and tingling sensation in the hand and fingers.
Patients report feeling numbness in the thumb, index, and middle finger. It is also common to feel stiffness and a slight restriction of movement. Some people shake their hands to relieve such symptoms. However, over time, the numbness may become chronic.
This sensation is akin to an electric shock in the affected hand. It may feel like a current is traveling from your wrist up to your arm. This symptom is common when you are performing a task that exasperates the condition. Sometimes, the tingling can develop at night and wake you from sleep.
As the condition progresses, you may begin to feel symptoms even during daytime. Aside from tingling, warning signs also include the following:
- Decreased sensation in the fingertips. The numbness you feel at night may worsen and continue in the morning. You may feel less sensation in certain fingers, especially after performing tasks with your hands.
- Difficulty gripping objects. Your grip can be affected by decreased sensation. You may have a hard time holding small objects, writing, and driving as a result.
Other Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
It may be easy to overlook numbness and tingling as normal stress from using your hands. However, such symptoms can become severe and chronic over time. Additionally, carpal tunnel syndrome can also cause other symptoms that are more difficult to ignore. Don’t hesitate to consult your doctor when warning signs of carpal tunnel syndrome begin to disrupt your activities and sleep pattern.
Common symptoms also include:
As this condition progresses, you are likely to feel pain in the affected hand and fingers. It is common to feel aching pain at night or first thing when you wake up. It is also common to feel shooting pain during the day when you use the affect hand repeatedly.
Constant Hand Weakness
As your condition worsens, the numbness will likely make your hand weaker. If this symptom occurs all the time, it can interfere with your routine and significantly affect your productivity at home and work.
Inability to Perform Specific Tasks
With weakness and pain, you will also find it challenging to do many activities involving your hands, such as typing, knitting, writing, and folding clothes. You may even begin to drop things due to weakness.
Carpal Tunnel Risk Factors
Numerous factors increase your risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome. If any of the following risk factors apply, you should watch out for early signs and see a doctor quickly if you observe any.
- This risk includes wrist fractures and dislocation, which may affect the space in your carpal tunnel, resulting in pressure on the median nerve.
- Diabetes and other metabolic disorders.
- Studies show that women are at a higher risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome because they commonly have a smaller carpal tunnel than men.
- Obesity or being overweight.
- Certain medications. Some research has shown that certain drugs, such as anastrozole, increase risk of carpal tunnel syndrome development.
- Occupational responsibilities. Some research suggests that tasks requiring repetitive use of the hand and wrist may increase risk, such as those involved in assembly line work.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Diagnosis and Treatment in Florida
Early detection of carpal tunnel syndrome results in optimal treatment and better recovery. If you notice early signs of the condition developing, seek immediate medical attention. Intercoastal Medical Group is ready to assist you. Our group of well-trained and board-certified orthopedic specialists provides high-quality medical care to all our patients.
We have ten clinics across Sarasota and Manatee County for your convenience. You can also conveniently arrange a visit with us using our secure online form. Let us help you get the comprehensive care you deserve!