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The “carpal tunnel” is a narrow passageway that runs from the base of the hand through the wrist. The median nerve, which controls our sense of touch in the palm, and touch and fine movement in the thumb and three larger fingers, passes through the carpal tunnel along with several tendons. If any of those tendons become irritated, or any other swelling encroaches on the space within the tunnel, the median nerve can become compressed. Compression of the median nerve may cause symptoms that range from tingling in the fingers to pain radiating up the arm.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by a combination of factors that increase pressure on the median nerve. People who genetically have smaller carpal tunnels are more vulnerable to the condition. Three out of every four people who develop carpal tunnel syndrome are women, most likely due to the anatomy of having smaller carpal tunnels than men. The stature of the smaller carpal tunnel leaves very little room for irritated tendons to swell without putting stress on the medial nerve, making the medial nerves in smaller tunnels more susceptible to experiencing pressure frequently and swiftly. Although carpal tunnel syndrome is more commonly considered a workplace injury, it can also happen to athletes. Kayal Orthopaedic Center’s experts in sports medicine will properly diagnose and treat carpal tunnel syndrome.
Other contributing factors include:
Carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms often begin gradually and typically stem from the thumb side of the hand. Initially, symptoms may be intermittent, but without intervention, they may become chronic. The two most common forms of arthritis—rheumatoid and osteoarthritis—raise your risk for carpal tunnel syndrome.
Common symptoms include:
In order to diagnose you properly, your doctor will consider your symptoms, examine your hand and wrist, and ask you to perform specific movements that reproduce the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. Your doctor may also require you to have X-rays, an MRI or a nerve conduction test to look closely at the nerve function in your hand.
Your diagnosis and treatment can begin in any of our offices in Franklin Lakes, Glen Rock, Westwood and Paramus – and soon in Montvale – conveniently located for patients who live in Garfield, North Bergen, Paterson, Ridgewood and the rest of Bergen County, New Jersey.
Without some form of treatment, carpal tunnel syndrome will progressively worsen. However, if diagnosed and treated early by our specialists, relief can be attained through the following non-surgical treatments. In cases where non-surgical treatments fail to resolve carpal tunnel syndrome, our physicians, who specialize in hand and wrist surgery, will use their knowledge and expertise to perform either open or endoscopic surgery. Open surgery is designed to increase the size of the carpal tunnel and decrease pressure on the nerve, while endoscopic surgery is performed through a small incision and aims to cut ligaments in order to alleviate the pressure that’s being put on the median nerve. The end result of these surgical options is parallel, but each condition has specific determinants that make it better suited for certain situations. Our physicians will thoroughly evaluate each carpal tunnel syndrome situation to decide which surgery option is best for each patient’s individualized condition.