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Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Repetitive strain can often cause chronic wrist pain. The carpal canal is a closed space located within the mid-area of the palm side of the wrist. It is covered by a thick ligament known as the volar carpal ligament. Inside the tunnel-like enclosed space courses the median nerve and the flexor tendons. It is theorized that because this is a closed space, as pressure builds up with repetitive movements, problems occur and pain is an inevitable result. The patient will feel a numbness and tingling in the areas that are supplied by the median nerve, which runs through the thumb, the index and middle fingers, and through half of the fourth finger on the thumb side. The patient may also experience a weak grip and a loss of fine movements.

Steps to Recovery

Step 1 Physical Evaluation

Step one is to have your wrist evaluated by a physician. The physician will consider your symptoms and conduct a physical exam to evaluate your wrist's strength, stability, and range-of-motion. X-rays and additional tests may be required to show internal injuries. Based on your examination, your physician will let you know if surgery is necessary or if exercise (whether at home or through an external physical therapy facility) would suffice to improve your wrist's function.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

X-rays are used to detect bone injury & malfunction

The results of your physical examination and testing will determine which surgical procedure, if any, would be necessary to restore optimized function.

Blood tests may be used to confirm or rule out various types of arthritis.

Other tests that might be performed include:
  • Tinel's Test - Your physician will tap on your wrist to check for pain and/or numbness
  • Phalen's Test - Your physician will ask you to hold your wrists in flexed (bent down) position for about one
  • minute to check for pain and/or numbness
  • EMG (Electromyogram) - Your physician may use electrodes to check the nerve pathway and muscle
  • function. These electrodes are painless and have no continuing effect

 

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