Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a common wrist injury caused by swelling and inflammation in the tendons that surround the median nerve located in the Carpal Tunnel. This is usually caused by repetitive stress on the wrist from sporting activities and manual work. Find out more about the causes, symptoms and treatments for Carpal Tunnel Symptoms. Plus, find a range of supports and braces and products to assist with alleviating wrist pain caused by Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
Anatomy of the Wrist
The wrist and hand is comprised of several small bones called the carpal bones. The carpal bones are connected via ligaments (transverse carpal ligament) and a fibrous sheath, the flexor retinaculum. Together this forms a passageway from the wrist to the hand, known as the Carpal Tunnel. The median nerve and nine tendons of the flexor muscles of the forearm pass through this tunnel, which provides feeling to the thumb, forefinger, middle finger and half of the ring finger.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome CausesCarpal tunnel syndrome results from narrowing of the tunnel, due to swelling and inflammation of any of the tendons or their outer layer (synovial sheath). The median nerve may be compressed as it passes through the tunnel.
Common Causes of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Repetitive stress on the Flexor Tendons - activities include sports such as gymnastics, cycling, golf, racquet sports and manual work such as painting, carpentry, chopping wood, sewing or working at a computer
- Arthritis - numerous types of arthritis, particularly rheumatoid arthritis, can cause swelling and inflammation
- Pregnancy - hormones associated with pregnancy may lead to fluid retention, which can cause swelling in the body and compress the nerve. Carpal tunnel syndrome that is activated by pregnancy typically goes away soon after birth
- Wrist fractures or dislocation - bone fragments can irritate the tenosynovium (tendon sheath) narrowing the carpal tunnel and placing pressure on the median nerve
- Congenital factors - some people are born with a narrow carpal tunnel
- Overuse injury - repetitive hand movements or awkward postures can cause the carpal tunnel tendons to become inflamed or irritated
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Symptoms
The symptoms related to this condition typically develop slowly over time. Initially, you may feel an ache in the wrist or hand following aggravated activity. This is often felt at night or first thing in the morning.
Common symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Ache, pain or burning sensation in the wrist
- Distal palmar tenderness
- Intermittent tingling (pins and needles) and numbness in the thumb and the next two and a half fingers
- Clumsiness or loss of dexterity
- Darting pain from the wrist
- May experience referred pain in the arm and shoulder
- Loss of grip strength and hypotrophy of the thumb muscles can be found in prolonged and severe cases
- Holding the wrist in hyperflexion for 30 seconds may cause numbness in the hand
- Unless numbness if one of the predominant symptoms, it is unlikely the symptoms are primarily caused by carpal tunnel syndrome
Treatment for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Treatment for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome should start as soon as it's diagnosed. In most cases, this involves rest from any activity that increases pain or stress in the wrist. You can gradually return to these activities once you can perform them without feeling any pain.
Please consult with your medical professional for a complete diagnosis of your wrist pain and tailored wrist pain treatment plan.
Recommended Thermoskin Product:
Under the direction of your medical professional and in conjunction with your advised treatment plan, either of the following Thermoskin supports or braces is recommended:
- Thermoskin Wrist Hand Brace - velcro locking straps together with a metal splint positioned at 25 degrees allows for increased circulation and provides the protection and support needed for treating Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Thermoskin Wrist Hand - provides protection and support for the wrist and lower forward area. Commonly used for the treatment of sprains, tendonitis and carpal tunnel syndrome
- Thermoskin Wrist Hand brace with Dorsal Stay - additional dorsal splint protects the wrist from movements that can lead to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. It also increases circulation to aid in the treatment of RSI and tendonitis
- Thermoskin Wrist Hand Brace with Thumb Splint - provides superior bracing for wrist/hand and thumb related injuries using a removable palmar splint with locking strap and thumb spica. Useful in treating Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, RSI and skier's thumb
- Thermoskin Wrist Forearm Splint - additional metal splints provide wrist immobilization for repetitive stress injuries, soft tissue injuries and tendonitis
- Thermoskin Elastic Wrist Hand Brace - provides compression and support for more serious hand/wrist injuries. Palmar splint positioned at 25 degrees with locking strap for greater bracing and increased circulation to assist in the healing process
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