Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
What is it : Some of the symptoms you may feel are: pain at night, numb fingers, the need to shake your hands to get feeling back, a shooting pain to the fingers and constantly dropping things. The median nerve begins at the spine and travels down the arm to finish in the hand. There is a tunnel at the wrist which the nerve and wrist/finger tendons pass through and is known as the “carpal tunnel”. The ‘roof’ of this tunnel becomes thick and pinches the nerve. This causes pins and needles and eventually numbness and weakness in your fingers in the area pictured below.
Most patients will have ‘idiopathic’ carpal tunnel syndrome which means there is no known cause. Rarely it could be a cyst, lump or synovitis causing the symptoms.
Management : Options for managing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome can be grouped in to non-surgical and surgical. Non-surgical treatment can include splinting, injections and hand therapy. Surgical treatment is an operation in which the ‘roof’ of the carpal tunnel is released, which removes the pressure on the nerve. This can be done using a camera technique (key hole carpal tunnel release) or a small incision on your wrist (mini open carpal tunnel release).
Post-operative : If you have the key hole carpal tunnel surgery, your wound will take approximately one week to heal. The mini open carpal tunnel surgery wound can take 2-3 weeks to heal but may be sensitive or tender for 6 weeks. Most people tend to have relief from the nerve pain within the first 2 weeks. Some numbness or weakness in the hand or fingers may take up to 12 months to recover.