Carpal Tunnel

Charles Capito, MD -  - Orthopedic Surgeon

Charles Capito, MD

Orthopedic Surgeon located in Weirton, WV, Stuebenville, OH, & Oakdale, PA

Carpal tunnel syndrome affects an estimated 3-6% of all adults, but women are especially at risk, as they develop this painful condition three times more often than men. Charles P. Capito, MD, in Weirton, West Virginia, Steubenville, Ohio, or Oakdale, Pennsylvania, encourages you to seek treatment early to prevent nerve damage and protect the muscles in your hand. If you have questions about your symptoms or you’d like to schedule an appointment, you can use the online form or call the office.

Carpal Tunnel Q & A

What is carpal tunnel?

Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the median nerve becomes compressed as it goes through your wrist. The median nerve travels down your arms and into your hands. It passes through the bones in your wrist using a narrow space called the carpal tunnel.

The carpal tunnel is a rigid space that’s surrounded by bone and the nerve shares the space with numerous tendons. When any of the soft tissues inside the tunnel become inflamed, or when there’s damage to the bone, the carpal tunnel narrows and pinches the nerve, creating carpal tunnel syndrome.

What causes carpal tunnel?

In rare cases, you may have a smaller-than-normal wrist that increases your risk of carpal tunnel. In most cases, however, the condition is caused by:

  • Repetitive use that inflames the tendons
  • Wrist flexion that places pressure on the nerve
  • Wrist injuries that narrow the carpal tunnel or injure the soft tissues
  • Health conditions like arthritis, diabetes, and thyroid disorders

Changes in hormones during pregnancy and menopause make women more susceptible to carpal tunnel.

What symptoms develop due to carpal tunnel?

Carpal tunnel usually develops slowly, so the symptoms sneak up on you. When symptoms first appear, they’re so mild you may not pay attention to them. As the condition worsens, you’ll experience:

  • Wrist pain
  • Hand weakness
  • Burning, tingling, or numbness in your fingers
  • Dropping things due to hand weakness or numbness
  • Feeling like your fingers are swollen even when they’re not

It’s also common to develop a tingling or pins-and-needles sensation that radiates from your wrist to your thumb, index, and middle fingers.

How is carpal tunnel treated?

It’s important to visit the office of Charles P. Capito, MD, for treatment as soon as you start to recognize the symptoms of carpal tunnel for two reasons. First, because permanent damage to the nerve is possible, and second because the condition responds well to conservative therapies when treatment begins in the early stage.

At an early stage, your treatment may include:

  • Immobilizing your wrist, possibly just at night
  • Changing your activities to avoid stress on the tendons
  • Adjusting ergonomics to avoid bending your wrist
  • Taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications to relieve inflammation
  • Receiving a steroid injection, which is a powerful anti-inflammatory medicine
  • Practicing nerve gliding exercises to restore smooth movement in the carpal tunnel

If your carpal tunnel syndrome is too severe or your symptoms don’t respond to conservative treatment, Dr. Capito may recommend surgery to release pressure on the nerve. Dr. Capito is the only Dr. in the area giving you the option of a small incision Endoscopic Carpal Tunnel Release.

When you develop wrist pain or other symptoms, call Charles P. Capito, MD, for a carpal tunnel evaluation or schedule an appointment online.

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