This painful condition is often associated with work/repetitive strain and usually involves an element of Tendonitis resulting in a trapped nerve. The wrist is a curve of bones at the back, held together with a tough fold of connective tissue at the front, called the flexor retinaculum. This forms a tunnel through which many structures pass from the arm to the hand. This is known as the carpal tunnel.
As often happens with these relatively small openings, things can easily get trapped, usually by inflammation or impingement. The main structure that can be caught is the median nerve which feeds part of the hand. Also the 9 finger flexor tendons run through the carpal tunnel and over use or disease of these can often instigate the problem.
The two most common groups at risk are people who do repetitive tasks with their hands and pregnant women. Repetitive movement causes the flexor tendons to rub against their protective sheaths causing friction, then inflammation and swelling, narrowing the gap and trapping the median nerve. Pregnant women tend to have more peripheral swelling in hands and feet anyway which can create the condition.
Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome:
- Pain in front of wrist and palm of hand
- Numbness and tingling in hand
- Swelling around wrist
- Aggravated by using hand
- Weakness in fingers
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome requires a careful and expert diagnosis by a trained professional. It is a common presentation in clinic and where appropriate, receives careful and expert treatment. Firstly an assessment and analysis is performed to establish how serious the problem is and then, if appropriate, gentle treatment is performed to stabilize structures, reduce inflammation, and facilitate the healing of the structures causing the symptoms.
Ultimately the aim is not just to treat it but prevent the symptoms from reoccurring. This includes education on how to keep the area in question healthy in the future. Please call to talk to a trained professional if you want to know more.