Raleigh Hand Center doctors are experts in the diagnosis and treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome as well as many other conditions of the hand and arm. Carpal tunnel syndrome is the most common nerve problem in the hand. It results from increased pressure on the median nerve at the wrist, within the carpal tunnel. Symptoms such as hand numbness, tingling, weakness, and pain can result if the nerve is compressed or “pinched.” Patients often wake up at night with the hand numb and shake out the hand for relief.
The carpal tunnel is a passageway in the wrist through which the median nerve and tendons of the hand travel. The carpal tunnel is a narrow, confined space: the floor of the tunnel is made up by the carpal bones of the wrist, and the roof is created by the transverse carpal ligament. The median nerve is at risk for compression within this tunnel. If there is abnormal swelling, altered wrist anatomy, or injury to this area, the function of the median nerve may be affected.
Patients with CTS commonly report “numbness” or “tingling” in the fingers. Some patients feel that the fingertips are “asleep” or report “poor circulation” in the hands. Symptoms often wake patients up at night. Some patients report increased symptoms while gripping a steering wheel. Dropping objects, clumsiness with the hands, or a weak grip are also common complaints. Some people also report pain in the forearm, wrist or fingers. In severe cases, the muscles at the base of the thumb (thenar muscles) can become weak and atrophy, sometimes permanently. See image below.
Often the diagnosis can be made on the basis of your symptoms, medical history, and physical examination. A nerve test can be ordered to confirm the diagnosis. Please call (919) 872-3171 to schedule a consultation with a hand specialist at Raleigh Hand Center. Surgical and non-surgical treatments are available.