Dr. Kamal Thapar, MD., PhD., FRCSC., FAANS
1200 Oakleaf Way, Suite A, Altoona, WI 54720
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a compression of the median nerve as it passes through the wrist. The median nerve is the only nerve that passes through the carpal tunnel in the wrist.
– This condition occurs more often in women than in men
– Diabetes mellitus
– Rheumatoid arthritis
– Thyroid disorders
– Certain occupations that require repetitive movement of the wrist such as typing on a keyboard, assembly line work, using power tools may predispose an individual to developing carpal tunnel syndrome
– Numbness and tingling in the affected hand, specifically in the thumb, index, middle and ring fingers
– Symptoms are often alleviated by shaking the affected hand
– Depending on the severity of compression of the median nerve, weakness can occur in the affected hand
– Patients are often awakened at night because of pain and numbness in the hand.
A test called an electromyogram (EMG) is often used to confirm the diagnosis of carpal tunnel syndrome and to identify the extent and location of nerve damage. An MRI of the cervical spine may also be ordered to ensure the symptoms and nerve damage are not a result of compression of the nerves in the neck.
Conservative management for carpal tunnel syndrome includes splinting of the wrist and anti-inflammatory medications. When conservative treatment is ineffective, a small procedure, carpal tunnel release, can be effective in relieving symptoms.