Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Treatment Specialist in Fort Myers FL, and Port Charlotte FL
If you would like to know more about the carpal tunnel syndrome treatment offered by Florida Hand Center, call us today. We have convenient locations in Port Charlotte FL and Fort Myers FL to serve you. Request an appointment online.
Table of Contents:
What Is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
What Causes Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
How Is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Diagnosed?
What Are The Results Of Surgery?
Are There Any Restrictions After Surgery?
What are the symptoms?
What are the treatments?
Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by the median nerve, which runs from the forearm to the palm of the hand, becoming compressed at the wrist causing numbness, weakness and sometimes pain in the hand and wrist. The carpal tunnel is a narrow passageway at the base of the hand that houses the median nerve and tendons that move the fingers. The median nerve is responsible for providing sensation to the underside (palm side) of the thumb and the middle fingers as well as controlling some small muscles at the base of the thumb. When this tunnel becomes narrowed the median nerve is compressed, causing the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a common condition that affects the hand, and carpal tunnel treatment can ultimately include carpal tunnel surgery. Numbness and tingling involving the thumb, index and middle finger are the most common symptoms seen with carpal tunnel syndrome. The symptoms are often severe at night. You may have a tendency to drop things because of the hand feeling clumsy. Occasionally the numbness or pain may involve the other fingers or move up into the forearm. Without carpal tunnel treatment, the symptoms tend to progress, eventually leading to constant numbness and occasionally to loss of strength in the hand.
Carpal tunnel syndrome doesn’t tend to be a problem with the median nerve itself, rather it is caused by swelling due to an injury or trauma to the hand or wrist. Other causes include:
• an overactive pituitary gland
• an under active thyroid gland
• rheumatoid arthritis
• repeated use of vibrating hand tools
The symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome are caused from pressure on the nerve. Conditions seen with carpal tunnel syndrome : diabetes, hypothyroidism, and arthritis. Carpal tunnel can also be seen after fractures or dislocations in the wrist and with pregnancy.
There are several ways of determining if your symptoms are the result of carpal tunnel syndrome or something else, such as a fracture, sprain or a nerve damaging condition such as diabetes. Early diagnosis and treatment are important to avoid the median nerve sustaining permanent damage. The diagnostic tests include:
• The wrist and fingers will be examined for swelling, tenderness and sensation, and the strength of the muscles at the base of the hand will be tested.
• Routine lab tests and X-rays can reveal the presence of another condition that may be causing the symptoms.
• There are specific tests that the doctor can use that produce the symptoms of CTS.
• The Tinel test involves the doctor tapping or applying pressure on the median nerve. The test is positive when the person experiences a tingling in the fingers or a shock-like sensation.
• The Phalen test involves holding the forearms upright, pointing the fingers down and pressing the backs of the hands together. If one or more symptoms, such as tingling or increasing numbness, is felt in the fingers within 60 seconds, Carpal tunnel syndrome is very possibly the cause.
• Electrodiagnostic tests may also help to confirm the diagnosis of CTS.
• In a nerve conduction study, small electric shocks measure the speed with which the nerves transmit electrical impulses.
• In electromyography, the electrical activity can be viewed on a screen using a fine needle to determine the severity of damage to the median nerve.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is diagnosed by its typical symptoms in conjunction with an examination by your physician. Often the diagnosis is confirmed by tests to measure the electrical activity of the nerve in the hand (nerve conduction studies).
Carpal tunnel release surgery involves cutting the ligament to relieve the pressure on the nerve and there are two different ways in which it can be done:
• Open release surgery is the traditional surgical procedure and consists of making an incision in the wrist and cutting the carpal ligament to enlarge the carpal tunnel.
• Endoscopic surgery may allow for a somewhat faster recovery and less postoperative discomfort than open release surgery, but it can also have a higher risk of complication which may result in the need for additional surgery.
Post-surgical recovery time will depend on how badly the median nerve was damaged and in most cases the symptoms will improve quite quickly, as long as there are no persistent irregular sensations or loss of strength in the wrist. In more severe cases it can take several weeks or months for the symptoms to completely disappear.
The results of carpal tunnel surgery are excellent with greater than 95 percent patient satisfaction. The pain in the fingers, especially the symptoms at night, are usually the first symptoms to improve after surgery. Carpal tunnel surgery, however, like any medical procedure, involves risk. Possible complications include incomplete relief of symptoms, pain, nerve or tendon injury, infection, and need for further surgery. Fortunately, these occur with only a very small percentage of patients.
*results may vary in patients
Your hand will be placed in a lightweight brace following carpal tunnel surgery. As part of the carpal tunnel treatment, you are encouraged to move your fingers after surgery and keep your hand elevated; this will reduce the pain and swelling in your hand. Ibuprofen or acetaminophen (Tylenol) are usually adequate for any pain you may experience. You should not lift more than a pound, do any forceful gripping, or engage in any repetitive activity (ie needlework, fishing, etc.) until allowed by your surgeon. Both you and the surgeon will discuss when you may return to work, and/or any other restrictions you may have.
While surgery quickly relieves pain and numbness, it can take at least four weeks to recover fully. The surgeon will apply a bandage or splint to protect your hand and arm after surgery, and you will need a follow up appointment after two weeks to have it removed. Hand or wrist pain is usually controlled with oral pain medication, and the surgeon may also require you to keep the affected hand elevated at night to help reduce swelling.
Once the splint is removed, you will likely begin a physical therapy program to improve the strength and movement in the wrist and hand; you may still need to sometimes wear a splint or brace for a month or so after surgery. The recovery period can take anywhere from a few days to a few months, and you may have to consider adjusting job duties or even taking time off from work while you heal. Your doctor will talk to you about any activity restrictions you will need to follow after surgery. If you or a loved one would like to know more about Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, contact Florida Hand Center today!
Numbness and tingling involving the thumb, index and middle finger are the most common symptoms seen with carpal tunnel syndrome. The symptoms are often severe at night. You may have a tendency to drop things because the hand feels clumsy. Occasionally the numbness or pain may involve the other fingers or move up into the forearm.
The use of a splint, anti-inflammatory medicines (i.e. Advil) or a cortisone injection are the most reliable non-surgical carpal tunnel treatment. If the symptoms are not eliminated or are already severe, carpal tunnel surgery is recommended. The goal of carpal tunnel treatment is to relieve the pressure on the nerve. With endoscopic carpal tunnel surgery the procedure is done through a small incision in the wrist. Open carpal tunnel surgery is conducted via an incision in the palm. The surgery is performed in an outpatient facility.
Dr.’s Helgemo and Olarte preferred method is endoscopic carpal tunnel surgery. It is done through a ½ inch incision in the wrist and the incision is closed with glue rather than stitches. Prescription pain medication is rarely needed after surgery, and you are able to resume most of your activities immediately. The minimally-invasive nature of this procedure along with the doctors extensive experience (over 7,000 cases) have led to excellent results with minimal risks. According to recent AHCA data, Dr. Helgemo is Florida’s leading endoscopic carpal tunnel surgeon.
We are an advanced medical facility dedicated to the treatment of hand and arm conditions with locations in Port Charlotte FL and Fort Myers FL and are proud to serve patients statewide. Call us or schedule an appointment today! We serve patients from Port Charlotte FL, Fort Myers FL, Punta Gorda FL, Cape Coral FL, Estero FL, Lake Suzy FL, Murdock FL, Charlotte Harbor FL, Harbour Heights FL, and Solana FL.
Additional Services You May Need
▸ Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
▸ Basilar Joint Arthritis
▸ Trigger Finger
▸ Dupuytren’s Contracture
▸ DeQuervain’s Tendonitis
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▸ Cubital Tunnel Syndrome
▸ Lateral Epicondylitis
▸ Small Joint Arthritis
▸ Wrist Pain
▸ Scaphoid Fracture Treatment
▸ Flexor Tendon Injuries Treatment
▸ Hand Tumors Removal Surgery
▸ Work Related Hand Injuries