Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS)

The orthopedic surgeons of Slocum Center specialize in treating carpal tunnel syndrome. We have been treating hand and wrist conditions for more than forty years. That means your procedure will be performed by a team whose experience is virtually unmatched in Eugene and throughout Oregon. 

Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a pinched nerve at the wrist. The carpal tunnel is where the median nerve and nine tendons pass from the forearm into the hand. When pressure in this tunnel builds up, the nerve causes pain. Symptoms may include numbness, tingling, and pain in the arm, hand, and fingers.

Cause

Usually the cause is unknown. Pressure on the nerve can occur in several ways: keeping the wrist bent for long periods of time; swelling of the lining of the flexor tendons; and narrowing of the tunnel through joint dislocations, fractures and arthritis. Fluid retention during pregnancy may cause symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome, which often go away after delivery. Thyroid conditions, rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes also can be associated with carpal tunnel syndrome.

Prevention

There are no proven strategies to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome, but to protect the hands from a variety of ailments, take the following precautions: reduce force and relax grip, give the hands and wrists a break every 15-20 minutes by gently stretching and bending them, avoid bending the wrist all the way up or down, improve posture, and keep the hands warm. It is much better to take these preventative steps while pain-free, instead of waiting for major dysfunction.

Treatment

Symptoms may often be relieved without surgery. Identifying and treating medical conditions, changing the patterns of hand use, or keeping the wrist splinted in a straight position may relieve pressure on the nerve. Wearing wrist splints at night may relieve the symptoms that interfere with sleep. A steroid injection into the carpal tunnel may help relieve the symptoms by reducing swelling around the nerve.

When symptoms are severe or do not improve, surgery may be needed to make more room for the nerve. By cutting the ligament that forms on top of the tunnel on the palm side of the hand, pressure on the nerve is decreased. Following surgery, soreness around the incision may last for several weeks or months. The numbness and tingling may disappear quickly or slowly. It may take several months for strength in the hand and wrist to return to normal. In severe cases, carpal tunnel symptoms may not go away completely after surgery.

Additional Information