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Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

For many patients, the early symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) first appear during the night. If you sleep with one or both wrists flexed, you may be woken by a sharp pain, numbness, or tingling in the wrist(s). From this point, CTS can worsen, causing you trouble during the day and at work. Eventually, it may be difficult or impossible to make a fist, grip small objects, or perform other tasks that were once part of your daily routine.
If you’re experiencing these carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms, there are at least six things you can start doing for yourself prior to scheduling appointment with one of our orthopaedic surgeons:

Minimize Repetitive Motion. Even the most basic, light tasks can lead to exacerbated symptoms when they’re performed in the exact same way over and over. Try using your hands and wrists in slightly different positions when you must perform repetitive motions.

Maintain a Neutral Wrist Position. When at all possible, you should keep your wrist in a neutral, straight position (as opposed to a bent/flexed position).
Take a Break. If your work or lifestyle requires constant use of your hands and wrist, make sure that you take a break, walk around, and stretch for at least 5 minutes every hour.
Grip With All Your Hand. Don’t use just two fingers to pick up an object; use your whole hand.
Build Hand and Arm Strength. When your muscles are weak, your wrists and hands may be forced to compensate, which can further develop CTS.
Slow Down. Lastly, make sure you’re slowing down and reducing force. Even though carpal tunnel release surgery has advanced significantly in recent years, all surgery is worth avoiding when possible. Limit the force and speed of your activities, and you may be able to avoid carpal tunnel release surgery.

Carpal Tunnel Release Surgery at the Center for Orthopaedic Innovation

In broad terms, there are two types of carpal tunnel release surgeries, open and endoscopic. If changes in behavior and other non-surgical treatment modalities fail to reverse symptoms after six months, then an orthopaedic surgeon at St. Luke’s Medical Center may recommend carpal tunnel release surgery.

Both types of surgeries relieve pressure on the median nerve by cutting (“releasing”) the transverse carpal ligament. The main difference between the two is as follows:

Open Carpal Tunnel Release Surgery

An incision (up to two inches in length) is made on the palm, through which the surgeon cuts the transverse carpal ligament.

Endoscopic Carpal Tunnel Release Surgery

Two half-inch incisions (typically where the palm meets the wrist and another closer to the center of the palm) are made. The orthopaedic surgeon inserts a small camera into the patient’s hand, which aids in cutting the transverse carpal ligament. Patients who undergo endoscopic carpal tunnel release surgery in our Phoenix facilities usually enjoy a quicker recovery time and fewer post-op complications

For more information about carpal tunnel release surgery, call 1-877-351-WELL.



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