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Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS)
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a relatively common condition involving the hand(s). The condition may either involve just one or both hands at the same time. The symptoms that characterize CTS present as result of increased pressure upon a nerve in the wrist called the medial nerve. This median nerve, as well as several wrist tendon attachments run through a small space in your wrist called the carpal tunnel. A healthy median nerve is responsible for controlling movement and supplying sensation to the first three fingers, including the thumb. When the nerve becomes trapped in the carpal tunnel, it is no longer able to do such things. This pressure can come from repetitive motions that lead to inflammation, increased tendon girth, injury, or a multitude of other factors. Most people that develop symptoms of carpal tunnel seem to gain relief from symptoms by “shaking out” their hand(s).
Carpal tunnel syndrome can cause tingling, numbness, weakness, and/or pain. Symptoms most often occur in the thumb, index finger, middle finger, and even half of the ring finger. A good indicator of CTS is any of the above mentioned symptoms with sparing of the little finger.
The treatment of CTS should be approached as you would any other disease. In more mild cases of CTS, a supportive orthotic brace to the affected hand(s) may be enough to naturally decompress the median nerve. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications are also used in the beginning of onset and for mild cases. In more advanced cases where bracing and NSAIDs are ineffective, the next step typically involves injection based techniques. Cortisone injections have shown proven benefit and are the mainstay of treatment to mitigate the inflammatory process in the carpal tunnel. Newer agents on the market called orthobiologics may also be considered as an injection option. Finally, if none of these methods provide adequate symptom cessation, surgery may be required. For more information on anything discussed above, please call or scheduled a consultation if you are suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome.
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