What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome? Hand Health, Upper Extremity Health
What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (also known as median nerve compression) is a condition that results from the hand’s median nerve being compressed. The median nerve and carpal tunnel passageway is located on the palm side of your hand. The carpal tunnel passageway is surrounded by many ligaments and bones.

How do I know if I have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
The most common symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome are numbness, weakness, decreased grip strength, and tingling in the wrist that may radiate up the arm. This is due to the nerve being compressed. All fingers except for the pinky can develop symptoms.

What are the risk factors of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Many factors may put you at a higher risk of developing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. If you have broken or dislocated your wrist, have rheumatoid arthritis, or diabetes you may be at an increased risk due to the carpal tunnel passageway being compressed. If you are female, pregnant, or overweight you are also at an increased risk. Occupations that require repetitive flexing of the wrist are at high risk of developing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, such as assembly line workers, construction workers, hairdressers, cashiers, and more.

How can I decrease my risk of developing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
You can decrease your risk of developing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome by taking frequent breaks to allow your wrist and fingers to relax and maintain normal alignment. Additional tips are to ensure that you have good posture, avoid frequently bending your wrist, and make sure that your work environment is warm.

How will my Iowa Ortho Hand Specialist diagnose me?
Iowa Ortho has four board-certified hand specialists here to help take care of your hands. When you visit with your Iowa Ortho physician, they will assess your hand for any numbness and tingling, as well as test your grip strength.

What does Carpal Tunnel Syndrome treatment entail?
There are both non-surgical and surgical ways to treat Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. One non-surgical treatment option may be simply taking anti-inflammatory medications such as Ibuprofen and Advil. Another option may be a corticosteroid injection to help decrease the swelling of the nerve. If non-surgical treatments do not relieve symptoms, then your physician may recommend surgery. During surgery, your physician will make a small incision in the palm of your hand and cut the ligament that is compressing your median nerve. Typically, this is an out-patient procedure, allowing patients to go home same-day.

Call Iowa Ortho today at 515-247-8400 if you think you may be experiencing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Our hand surgeons will work with you to develop a treatment plan suited to your goals and lifestyle.