Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

About Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

If you work an office job or you often perform repetitive tasks, you are at risk for developing carpal tunnel syndrome. Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common condition that causes pain, numbness, and tingling in the hand and arm. It is also known as median nerve entrapment or median nerve compression. It may happen when a nerve swells, the tendons become inflamed, or something causes swelling in the carpal tunnel.

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), describe carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) as the “most common and widely known of the entrapment neuropathies in which the body’s peripheral nerves are compressed or traumatized.”

CTS affects between 3 percent and 6 percent of adults in the United States. It normally develops between the ages of 45 and 64 years, and the prevalence increases with age. It can appear in one or both wrists. It is more common in women than in men.

The carpal tunnel protects the median nerve and flexor tendons that bend the fingers and thumb. Reproduced and adapted from Rodner C, Raissis A, Akelman E: Carpal tunnel syndrome. Orthopaedic Knowledge Online Journal. Rosemont, IL, American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, 2009; 7(5). Accessed March 2016.

Without treatment, CTS can have a negative impact on a person’s quality of life. Eventually, the median nerve can become severely damaged, and there may be permanent numbness in the fingers and permanent weakness in the muscles that are innervated by the median nerve.

It is often linked to computer use, but reports date back to the 1800s. It was familiar to orthopedic surgeons since before the widespread use of computers.


Symptoms

According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome may include:

  • Numbness, tingling, burning, and pain—primarily in the thumb and index, middle, and ring fingers
  • Occasional shock-like sensations that radiate to the thumb and index, middle, and ring fingers
  • Pain or tingling that may travel up the forearm toward the shoulder
  • Weakness and clumsiness in the hand—this may make it difficult to perform fine movements such as buttoning your clothes
  • Dropping things—due to weakness, numbness, or a loss of proprioception (awareness of where your hand is in space)

In most cases, the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome begin gradually—without a specific injury. Many patients find that their symptoms come and go at first. However, as the condition worsens, symptoms may occur more frequently or may persist for longer periods of time.

Night-time symptoms are very common. Because many people sleep with their wrists bent, symptoms may awaken you from sleep. During the day, symptoms often occur when holding something for a prolonged period of time with the wrist bent forward or backward, such as when using a phone, driving, or reading a book.

Many patients find that moving or shaking their hands helps relieve their symptoms.


If you’re experiencing some of these symptoms and you want to learn how to prevent your symptoms from becoming more painful, make an appointment with us! We’re expertly skilled at treating carpal tunnel syndrome, as well as a plethora of other hand and arm injuries.

Call us at (954) 979-3255 to make an appointment.

See you soon!

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