Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a common condition that many of our patients have questions about. Dr. Marc Dinowitz at Mezona Orthopaedic Group of Mesa, AZ utilizes a variety of techniques to deal with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
A pinched nerve in your wrist is the culprit for this painful and chronic condition, often affecting you’re your arm, hand and wrist. This pressure, or pinch on your median nerve in your carpal tunnel leads to symptoms such as numbness, pain, tingling and weakness in your arm, fingers, hand and wrist. Your median nerve is integral for controlling both the feeling and ease of movement in your first three fingers and thumb, so swelling and compression of this nerve can greatly affect the ability of your hands to function properly.
What Causes Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome occurs when the median nerve in your carpal tunnel is compressed. This can happen if you have an illness which leads to inflammation and swelling such as rheumatoid arthritis. Other illnesses, like diabetes and hypothyroidism may also cause swelling of your median nerve. Obesity and pregnancy can also put pressure on your median nerve, leading to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. If you experience an injury to your wrist, like a fracture or bone spur, you may be at a greater risk for compression of your median nerve. Your lifestyle choices can also be factors in causing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. If you have a consistent pattern of making the same hand movements again and again, such as when typing, and your wrist is bent with your hands lower than your wrist, this may cause pressure on your median nerve. Additionally, smoking is a lifestyle choice that can also lend itself to compression of your median nerve, as it reduces the blood flow to the nerve throughout your body.
What are the Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Pain is an extremely common symptom of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, particularly in your arm, fingers, palms and wrists. Many patients experience pain that radiates from their fingers to their wrist, arm and sometimes even their shoulder. The palm side of your forearm is the typical area of your arm that will be in pain, although other areas of your arm and hand may be affected. Numbness and tingling are also very common symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, leading to a “pins and needles” type feeling in your forearm, hand and wrist. Some patients feel like their hand “fell asleep” and may need to move around or shake their arm and hand to get the numbness to subside. Weakness in your hands and arms can be signs of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome as well. You may notice that you have trouble grasping objects without feeling weak or in pain, or you may be more prone to dropping objects.
How is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Diagnosed?
A physical exam is the first step when determining if you are suffering from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. After relaying your symptoms and medical history, such as previous hand or arm injuries or surgeries, the doctor will examine your arms, fingers and hands. Your finger strength may be tested, along with tests like Phalen's sign, Tinel’s sign and two-point discrimination. The doctor may also ask you to shade in a hand diagram to indicate where you are experiencing pain, numbness and weakness.
After a physical exam the doctor may order specific tests to further investigate the severity of your condition. Some of these tests may include X-rays, an Electromyogram an MRI, and Ultrasound or a Nerve Conduction Study. Your doctor may also order blood work to be certain that you do not have any underlying conditions that may be causing your condition, such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis or a thyroid disorder.
What Can be Done to Treat Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Here at the office of Dr. Dinowitz at Mezona Orthopaedic Group we offer many options for treating Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Non-Surgical options for treatment include wrist splinting, medications such as corticosteroids and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and physical therapy. Surgical options are also available, and include both open surgery and endoscopic surgery.
If you are a Phoenix, Gilbert, Mesa or Arizona resident with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and you are seeking an orthopedic specialist please feel free to contact us today for your appointment.
"If you live in the Phoenix, Mesa, Gilbert, Chandler or surrounding areas in Arizona and you suffer from arm, hand, wrist, finger or shoulder pain, there are a number of specialists for you to choose from in your search for relief. There is no specialist that will respect your time and your patient experience more than the staff at Mezona Orthopedic Group. By allowing us to help you, you take us one step closer to our goal of becoming the Southwest's finest Orthopedic Hand Surgery Center. We value your trust in us - Thank You!" Dr. Marc Dinowitz, M.D.