The median nerve, which controls the sensations in your thumb and first three fingers, runs through a narrow passageway of ligament and bones from the forearm into the palm. When this passageway shrinks because of inflammation, thickening, or swelling, the median nerve becomes compressed, causing pain, numbness, and weakness.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is often considered a repetitive stress injury but can occur due to other reasons. Compression of the median nerve causes carpal tunnel syndrome.
You might experience this pressure because of swelling because of:
Women are three times more likely to develop carpal tunnel syndrome as compared to men. This may be because the carpal tunnel is smaller in females.
You might have carpal tunnel syndrome if you feel tingling and numbness in your fingers, palm, or thumb. Usually, your pinky finger is not affected. You may feel the most pain and weakness in your fingers at night, and you can sometimes find relief by shaking out your hand. Eventually, the pain becomes more constant, so you even notice it during the day. You may lose grip strength in the affected hand.
When non-invasive measures don’t work to relieve the inflammation causing carpal tunnel syndrome, Dr. Nguyen may suggest carpal tunnel release surgery. This procedure involves making an incision in the wrist and trimming the carpal ligament to make your carpal tunnel larger.
He performs the procedure with local anesthesia on an outpatient basis, so you go home the same day.
After surgery, your ligaments grow back together, allowing more space through which the nerve can travel. Expect full recovery to take several months. Dr. Nguyen gives you post-surgical instructions as to how to care for your wrist. He also advises you on how to work with your hands immediately after surgery and even after you recover.
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