Your median nerve runs through your carpal tunnel, which is composed of bones at the bottom end of your wrist and your carpal ligament, which crosses over the top portion of your wrist.
It performs an important job, allowing you to sense feelings in your thumb and three middle fingers. This nerve makes movement possible in those digits as well.
If your carpal tunnel becomes inflamed and compresses your median nerve, it causes pain, tingling, and numbness. This is called carpal tunnel syndrome, and surgery to correct it is one of the most commonly performed orthopedic procedures.
Board-certified orthopedic surgeon Dr. Apurva Dalal at Tri-State Orthopaedics treats many in the Memphis area who suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome, and he has extensive experience performing carpal tunnel syndrome repair surgery.
Carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms
If you meet with Dr. Dalal and describe tingling, numbness, burning, and weakness in your fingers and hands, his first thought will likely be carpal tunnel syndrome. In addition to carpal tunnel syndrome’s localized pain, it often travels up your arm and can even affect your elbow. It can also worsen significantly at night.
The carpal tunnel isn’t roomy to begin with, but numerous conditions lead to carpal tunnel swelling and narrowing, including arthritis, diabetes, injury, and pregnancy. You’re also more likely to get carpal tunnel syndrome if others in your family have it.
Carpal tunnel syndrome’s many causes
A major carpal tunnel syndrome culprit is repetitive hand movements, like typing for work, playing a musical instrument, or playing certain sports. Some lines of work also lead to higher rates of carpal tunnel syndrome, like factory work, haircutting, and construction.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is progressive, so the longer you put off addressing it, the worse it gets. As pain intensifies, you might notice a weakened grip and a tendency to drop things. If you seek treatment at Tri-State Orthopaedics as soon as you notice symptoms, you may be able to preserve your hand function.
Dr. Dalal creates a treatment plan for addressing your carpal tunnel syndrome based on your unique medical history, how long you’ve been suffering with carpal tunnel syndrome, and the severity of your symptoms.
He starts with a conservative approach, which includes first treating any conditions that may be contributing to your discomfort and then he typically advises rest, icing your hand to reduce inflammation, and wearing a brace for a number of weeks.
He might also prescribe anti-inflammatory medications, steroid injections, and exercises, like vigorously shaking your hands out.
If these treatments don’t provide relief, Dr. Dalal recommends an outpatient surgical procedure that releases pressure that’s placed upon your median nerve and widens your carpal tunnel. This is done when he creates a 2-inch-long incision on your palm and wrist and clips your carpal ligament.
Recovery time varies, depending on your individual healing capacity and how serious your carpal tunnel syndrome pain was, but you’re likely to wear a splint initially. Dr. Dalal usually recommends that you receive physical therapy to gradually but steadily restore your strength.
Don’t delay getting treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome
Dr. Dalal is eager to provide you with the proper care for your carpal tunnel syndrome. Call one of our offices to set up an appointment if you think you may be suffering symptoms, or use our online booking tool.