Have you ever wondered why your wrist hurts or your hand goes numb? If you have these symptoms, you could be dealing with carpal tunnel syndrome. If left untreated, this condition leads to permanent nerve damage in your hands, along with some sleepless nights. It’s important to learn the signs of carpal tunnel syndrome so you know when to seek treatment.
At the Spine and Orthopedic Center of New Mexico, located in Roswell, our orthopedic team helps you determine if your symptoms are due to carpal tunnel syndrome; we may offer carpal tunnel release surgery when your symptoms are too much to handle.
Understanding carpal tunnel syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition that leads to pain, tingling, and numbness in your hand and fingers. To understand this disease, you first have to understand the anatomy of your hand.
Your carpal tunnel is a canal formed by bones and a ligament. The carpal bones make up the bottom and sides of the canal, while the ligament lays above the tunnel. Inside this tunnel are tendons and your median nerve.
Your median nerve is important because it gives you sensation in all of your fingers, except the small finger. It also gives your index finger and thumb some of their strength.
This syndrome occurs when the median nerve becomes compressed within the tunnel. The compression of the nerve is often caused by inflammation or swelling in the wrist. This condition leads to a number of uncomfortable symptoms that make simple tasks seem impossible.
Watch out for these warning signs
Carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms come from the pressure placed on your median nerve. Even with a mild condition, you’ll likely notice at least a few of these uncomfortable symptoms. If you experience any of the following, you could be dealing with carpal tunnel syndrome:
- Frequently dropping objects
- Weakness in the affected hand
- Numbness or tingling in your fingers
- Shock-like pain in the fingers
- Pain and tingling that shoots up your arm
- Trouble making a fist or holding objects
Carpal tunnel syndrome affects your thumb, index, middle, and ring fingers. In moderate-to-severe cases of the condition, the pain and tingling may be so bad it keeps you up at night.
If your carpal tunnel goes untreated, you can end up having trouble feeling temperature changes in your hand. Severe cases can also cause thumb atrophy, where your thumb muscles significantly decrease in size.
When to see a doctor for your symptoms
Carpal tunnel symptoms often come on gradually, which can make it hard to determine when to seek treatment. However, if you exhibit any of the above signs and symptoms, you should get checked out. The sooner you get treatment, the better your outcome will be.
If you’re concerned about carpal tunnel syndrome, our orthopedic team will examine your symptoms and conduct tests to determine the extent of your nerve compression. Testing may include:
- Wrist flexion test
- Tinel’s sign
If these tests reveal carpal tunnel syndrome, our team will recommend treatment based on the severity of your symptoms. Nonsurgical treatments include wrist splints at night and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications. This can help with mild-to-moderate forms of the condition.
However, if your symptoms are severe and prevent you from performing your normal activities, carpal tunnel surgery may be recommended.
If you’re concerned about carpal tunnel syndrome, call our office at 575-623-9101 or book an appointment online today.