Orthopedic Surgeons located in Harlingen, TX
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common and progressive condition that causes pain, numbness, and tingling in your hands and arms. At OrthoCare in Harlingen, Texas, Stephanie Baker, MD, diagnoses carpal tunnel syndrome and offers personalized treatment to relieve your condition and help you get back to your regular activities. If you have any signs of carpal tunnel syndrome, call OrthoCare or schedule a consultation online today.
Carpal Tunnel Q & A
What is carpal tunnel syndrome?
Your carpal tunnels are the small passages in your wrists surrounding the median nerves as they travel into your hands. The carpal tunnels are bone on three sides and are closed by the transverse carpal ligament, a strong band of connective tissue.
Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when inflammation in the tissues surrounding your carpal tunnel reduces the space available for your nerve and causes nerve compression. As a result, you develop symptoms such as:
- Numbness, tingling, or burning sensations in the thumb, index, middle, and ring fingers
- Electrical shock-like sensations that shoot into your hand
- Pain or tingling that extends up your arm
- Weakness and clumsiness in your hand
You might find that you drop things frequently or have trouble holding a cup of coffee or a pen.
Carpal tunnel syndrome usually develops gradually. You might notice symptoms at night or after holding your hands and wrists in an extended position for a long time — for example, while you type on a keyboard at work.
What causes carpal tunnel syndrome?
Many factors contribute to carpal tunnel syndrome. Repetitive movements like typing, knitting, or playing a musical instrument can cause inflammation in your wrists.
Carpal tunnel also has hereditary factors — you might have a smaller carpal tunnel or other anatomical differences that increase your risk. Pregnancy and other health conditions can also cause swelling that triggers carpal tunnel syndrome.
How do you treat carpal tunnel syndrome?
The doctors at OrthoCare begin by providing a thorough exam and testing to confirm your diagnosis. They review your medical history, symptoms, and lifestyle factors while examining your hands, wrists, and arms.
Your doctor looks for signs of muscle atrophy around the base of your thumb. They test your grip strength and sensitivity in your fingertips. When necessary to confirm your diagnosis, they use nerve conduction studies, X-rays, and MRIs.
After confirming your diagnosis, your doctor recommends a treatment plan to reduce inflammation in your wrists and relieve your symptoms. Depending on the severity of your condition, your doctor might recommend:
- Bracing and splinting
- Anti-inflammatory medication
- Physical therapy
- Cortisone injections
When conservative treatments don’t relieve your condition, your doctor might recommend a surgical procedure to release your carpal tunnel.
If you have any signs of carpal tunnel syndrome, getting treatment early is essential to minimizing the disruption to your life. Call OrthoCare today or make an appointment online for expert treatment.