Carpal tunnel syndrome happens when your median nerve gets pinched inside your carpal tunnel ー a narrow space inside your wrist that allows your nerve plus nine tendons to travel through your wrist to your hand. Carpal tunnel syndrome can develop slowly over time, making it harder to recognize the signs. Unfortunately, if it’s not treated in a timely fashion, it can lead to permanent nerve damage.
That’s why our team of orthopedic specialists wants you to know the top signs of carpal tunnel syndrome so you can seek orthopedic care as soon as possible.
Let’s take a look at the five signs of carpal tunnel syndrome.
Despite causing obvious discomfort, pain can be a good thing. It’s your body’s way of telling you something is wrong and requires medical attention. In the case of carpal tunnel syndrome, pain manifests as throbbing or burning pain, two key indications of nerve compression. You might expect to feel pain in your affected wrist, but pain may be present in your hand and forearm as well.
When your nerve is compressed, it’s not uncommon to experience pain even at rest. You might only feel pain with activity in the early stages of carpal tunnel syndrome. Still, as the condition progresses and your nerve inflammation intensifies, the pain may occur at rest or during activity.
Your median nerve is responsible for motor function (movement) and sensation (touch, pain, and temperature) in your thumb, middle finger, index finger, a part of your ring finger, and the palm of your hand. With this in mind, you might experience pain symptoms along the palm of your hand and fingers. This is in contrast to arthritis in the wrist, for instance, which is typically localized in your wrist joint.
Two early symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome are tingling sensation and numbness. Some people also experience these two symptoms at night, especially if they sleep with their wrists curled up. As carpal tunnel syndrome progresses, the pins and needles sensation may also be accompanied by decreased sensation in your fingertips.
Both tingling sensations and numbness are hallmark signs of nerve compression or damage.
Carpal tunnel syndrome can lead to decreased grip strength. This can make it difficult to hold a coffee cup, a phone, or writing utensil. Not surprisingly, this can take a toll on the quality of your life, especially if it limits your ability to safely drink a hot cup of coffee or hold on to the steering wheel of a car.
In addition to decreased grip strength, carpal tunnel syndrome can contribute to decreased dexterity. As you lose dexterity, you may find it more difficult to button a shirt or tie your shoes.
As soon as you spot the signs of carpal tunnel syndrome, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Carpal tunnel syndrome responds well to conservative treatments, such as cold therapy, activity modifications, and wearing splints. These conservative therapies can help reduce your symptoms, but before you get started, our team diagnoses carpal tunnel syndrome through an exam and diagnostic tests.
Depending on the severity of your nerve compression, your Sequoia Institute Orthopaedic Specialists provider may recommend:
Call Sequoia Institute Orthopaedic Specialists at the location of your choice ー Porterville, Reedley, and Visalia, California ー to get started with carpal tunnel treatment today.