Do you experience pins and needles in your hand and wrist? Does it keep coming back? Does the feeling worsen at night with finger joints becoming swollen and stiff? You may be suffering from a common hand condition called Carpal Tunnel syndrome (CTS). It is three times more common in women than men due to women having smaller carpal tunnels. Although it can affect anyone of any age, it is more common over the age of 50. Many people report tingling, numbness, pins and needles in their thumb and fingers that can travel up into the arm as well as feeling some pain in the hand. Symptoms can come on gradually over the course of a few weeks and worsen over time.

Symptoms

Symptoms of CTS include:

  • Tingling or numbness in the hand especially in the thumb, index finger, and middle finger
  • Aches or pains in your fingers, hand, wrist, or forearm, possibly radiating as far proximally as the shoulder
  • A weak thumb or difficulty gripping
  • Clumsiness or reduced manual dexterity
  • Trophic ulcers at the tips of thumb, index finger, or middle finger

Causes

CTS is caused when the median nerve that runs through a narrow space called the carpal tunnel becomes pinched. It can be a result of the following factors:

  • Certain medical conditions including hypothyroidism, rheumatoid arthritis, and diabetes.
  • Family history
  • Repetitive hand movements
  • Pregnancy

Treatment

The good news is that there are effective non-surgical treatments for easing symptoms of CTS. If you have recently been diagnosed with CTS, using a wrist splint at night-time for up to 6 weeks can help ease discomfort. Symptoms can be worse at night and a splint helps prevent the wrist from bending or being extended whilst you’re asleep. Your doctor may also feel a steroid injection will be beneficial to help reduce inflammation and swelling within the carpal tunnel.

If you are still experiencing symptoms and discomfort after using a wrist splint, it is a good idea to seek advice from a hand & wrist surgeon on whether surgery would be suitable for you. Many patients who have had surgery to treat CTS have reported successful outcomes. If left untreated, Carpal tunnel syndrome can eventually lead to weakness and lack of coordination in your fingers and thumb.

For more information click Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

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