When someone says the word “surgery,” it’s easy to jump to a visual image of a person in a hospital bed wrapped head to toe in gauze: hand surgery is NOT this way! Still, if you could avoid hand surgery all together – why wouldn’t you? The number ONE way to avoid hand surgery is to consult a hand doctor or hand surgeon as soon as symptoms for carpal tunnel syndrome or other disorders present themselves.
Here’s what to look for:
Symptoms for carpal tunnel syndrome:
- Numbness or tingling in the thumb, index and middle fingers. People are often tempted to shake these symptoms off, “oh, it’s nothing…” What if it’s not? If symptoms persist – consult a hand surgeon now and you’ll greatly reduce the chance of needing hand surgery.
- Pain in the fingers, hand or forearm – sometimes this can even extend up to the shoulder. If you’re experiencing any pain for longer than a week – consult a hand doctor to explore your treatment options.
- Loss of strength or trouble holding items (how many times have you had to sweep up broken glass in the kitchen recently?). This can be a symptom for carpal tunnel as well as a variety of other hand ailments that may require treatment from a specialist.
What if it is not carpal tunnel syndrome?
The hands are miraculously complex – as a result, they can be affected by a variety of ailments. While carpal tunnel syndrome is quite common, other symptoms to look out for in relation to different disorders and hand surgery needs include:
- Pain, numbness or sensation in the little finger (the little finger is connected to a different nerve than the nerve responsible for carpal tunnel syndrome)
- General pain that could be related to nerve damage
- Arthritis and related pain or pressure
- Infections as a result of injury or trauma
- Discomfort that may be related to other health issues including diabetes, hypertension, hyperthyroid and arthritis
- Discoloration in the fingers or nail beds
Remember – the number one way to avoid hand surgery is to consult a hand surgeon early. If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms for carpal tunnel syndrome or the other symptoms discussed, call a hand doctor today to explore your treatment options.