A common condition of the hand and wrist along the median nerve is referred to as carpal tunnel syndrome. This nerve runs from the palm of the hand to the forearm. If it is squeezed or pressed near the wrist area, it can affect feeling in the fingers and hand.
Your hand doctor can run a series of tests in order to diagnose the issue, but knowing the symptoms is often enough for a diagnosis. Here are some signs to look out for and determine if you need hand surgery.
Common Signs of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
As any hand specialist will tell you, there are a few symptoms that tend to be common among everyone who suffers from this syndrome. This is why many hand doctors can provide an initial diagnosis of the condition simply by asking you a series of questions. Take a look at some of the common symptoms experienced:
Tingling – Tingling of the fingers is a common sign due to the nerve getting additional pressure. You may notice more tingling when waking up in the morning, requiring you to shake your hand. After having the condition for a while, you might also get tingling throughout the day.
Numbness – Numbness is usually experienced at the same time as tingling. Numbness and tingling both occur with nearly all the fingers and thumb, with the exception of the pinky finger. The numbness can be anywhere on the finger, though it is not uncommon to experience it on the fingertips only.
Weakness – If you have numbness and tingling combined with difficulty grabbing onto small objects or performing basic tasks with your hands, it is a strong sign of the condition. It can also show itself when you are carrying grocery bags and notice your hands lose the grip much more easily.
Temperature Disturbances – The last symptom is problems telling the difference between hot and cold temperatures.
Diagnosing the Condition
Your hand surgery doctor will start the diagnosis process by asking about your signs and symptoms. If you show a persistent pattern with the most common symptoms, the doctor will likely give you an initial diagnosis of this condition.
After finding out about your symptoms, you’ll have a physical examination to test the muscle strength in your hands and fingers, as well as check the nerve of the wrist. Tests that might be performed include x-rays, an electromyogram, or a nerve conduction study.
As soon as receive a diagnosis of this condition, your hand specialist will talk to you about treatment options. The first recommendation is usually to avoid activities that worsen your symptoms, such as typing for long periods of time or lifting heavy items.
Next, you will want to talk about non-surgical options like splinting the wrist, taking anti-inflammatory medications, or getting injections of corticosteroids. Finally, you can opt for a carpal tunnel procedure that helps relieve pressure from the nerve.
You don’t need to keep suffering from this painful condition. If you are showing any of these symptoms, contact the Florida Hand Center to speak to a hand specialist. We have an excellent hand surgeon that can help you determine the best treatment options.