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Tag: carpal tunnel syndrome

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Conditions Wrists

Why Does Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Happen?

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Why does carpal tunnel syndrome happen?

It’s a question we hear often at our hand doctor’s offices in Howell, West Bloomfield, Warren, and Macomb Township. Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is one of the most common conditions we treat.

In fact, more than 4 million people are affected by the syndrome. According to the Workers’ Compensation Institute, approximately 230,000 carpal tunnel release surgeries are performed every year

Determining the exact cause of CTS in order to prevent it can be challenging. Why carpal tunnel syndrome happens is based on a combination of many factors, and these factors range from gender to career choice.

CTS Defined

Before we get into the whys, here is a broad overview of what carpal tunnel syndrome is.

In general terms, CTS is a pinched nerve in the wrist. The phrase carpal tunnel itself refers to a space in the wrist where nine tendons and the median nerve pass from the arm into the hand.

When the median nerve, which runs from the forearm into the hand, becomes pressed, squeezed, or inflamed at the wrist, the result may be symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. They include numbness, pain, burning, tingling, and weakness in the wrist, palm of the hand, and along the fingers, especially the thumb and index finger, as well as a weaker grip and a tendency to drop things more often.

In other words, carpal tunnel syndrome is the result of pressure and swelling in this tunnel, which in turn increases pressure to the median nerve. It is typically not a problem with the median nerve itself.

Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome may increase gradually, and they often extend up into the arm.  These feelings may intensify to the point where it becomes difficult to hold small objects or to make a fist.

Frequent use of keyboards or power tools at work may cause carpal tunnel syndrome or lead to flareups.
Frequent use of keyboards or power tools at work may cause carpal tunnel syndrome or lead to flareups.

Why Does Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Happen?

Because a combination of factors may be involved, it can be difficult to determine the exact cause of CTS in each case. Causes of carpal tunnel syndrome and sources of flareups include current health conditions, gender, careers, hobbies, and a predisposition to the condition.

Current health conditions

Current health conditions may cause carpal tunnel syndrome or exacerbate symptoms of CTS in those who already have the condition. These include rheumatoid arthritis, pregnancy, thyroid conditions, diabetes, high blood pressure, and prior injuries. Diabetes and other metabolic disorders may directly affect the body’s nerves and make them more susceptible to compression.

Predisposition

Is carpal tunnel syndrome hereditary? It’s a controversial topic and one that requires further research. Historically, it was not believed to be hereditary, but more recent studies show some links. For that reason, some scientists and doctors believe some people may be more genetically predisposed to the condition than others.

Gender

Women are three times more likely to suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome than men are. In some cases, this may be due to pregnancy or menopause, which may cause swelling in the wrists.

Career and hobbies

Careers and hobbies are the most notorious culprits. Actions that can increase carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms include improper use of computer keyboards, regular use of power tools or hand tools, and repeated use of your wrist, such as playing a violin.

The risk of developing CTS is higher among assembly line workers, such as those in manufacturing, sewing, cleaning, and the restaurant industry. Carpal tunnel syndrome is also common among data entry personnel and others who use computers often.

CTS Treatment

Reducing or modifying certain actions may help alleviate the symptoms, such as taking frequent breaks, stretching out your wrists and fingers, wearing wrist protectors if possible, and investing in ergonomically designed furniture and equipment.

Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome may be present more at night than during the day based on how you sleep. For that reason, Dr. Arora may recommend that CTS patients wear wrist braces at night in order to support the wrist and keep it straight.

Other treatment options include steroid injections, the use of anti-inflammatory medications, and wrist surgery.

If you are experiencing wrist pain due to CTS, make an appointment to see Dr. Arora for carpal tunnel syndrome treatment at a southeast Michigan location near you.

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General Wrists

Who is at Risk of Getting Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS)?

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Between 4 million and 10 million Americans have carpal tunnel syndrome. Characterized by numbness or tingling in the fingers and pain in the wrists, it can affect virtually anyone.

According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, women are three times more likely than men to develop carpal tunnel syndrome. It usually occurs only in adults, and middle-aged adults and seniors are more likely to develop the syndrome than younger adults.

The structure of an individual’s wrist also may have an impact on the potential for CTS. The carpal tunnel is a space in the wrist where nine tendons and a median nerve pass from the arm into the hand. It’s typically about an inch wide. However, people who have more space in this tunnel are possibly less likely to get carpal tunnel syndrome, and individuals whose tunnels are tighter may be at higher risk.

Lifestyle factors, however, may be the most significant regarding who is at risk of getting carpal tunnel syndrome.

What Places Some People at Risk of Getting Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

1. Body Structure & Pre-Existing Medical Conditions

Individuals who have pre-existing medical conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis, obesity, or nerve disorders are among those who are at risk of getting carpal tunnel syndrome. Other conditions that may be related to CTS include an overactive pituitary gland or an underactive thyroid gland. These health concerns may lead to fluid retention in the wrists, which places stress on the carpal tunnel.

Individuals who have jobs that demand strenuous or repetitive use of the wrists, such as painters, may be at higher risk of getting carpal tunnel syndrome.
Individuals who have jobs that demand strenuous or repetitive use of the wrists, such as painting, may be at higher risk of getting carpal tunnel syndrome.

2. Workplace Demands

Jobs that require repetitive or strenuous use of the wrists may be associated with CTS. These workers include:

  • Assembly line workers
  • Manufacturing employees, especially those who frequently use manual or vibrating hand tools
  • Tailors
  • Carpenters/woodworkers
  • Janitors/cleaning service personnel
  • Chefs/cooks
  • Data entry clerks/office workers
  • Painters

3. Hobbies

Many games, sports, and other hobbies may cause or increase the effects of carpal tunnel syndrome. Examples of these are bowling, playing the piano, playing basketball, and knitting.

4. Injuries

Wrist injuries that cause swelling may increase the effects of CTS as well.

5. Heredity

Some people are simply biologically or physically more prone to carpal tunnel syndrome than others are.

6. Cysts or Tumors

Cysts or tumors that develop in the wrists could lead to swelling and discomfort, leading to CTS symptoms such as tingling, numbness, and pain.

Possible Reasons Why Women Get CTS More Often

As noted above, research shows that women are three times more likely to get CTS than men are. The reasons for that are threefold.

  • Menopause may cause fluid retention in the wrists, which would add pressure to the tunnel.
  • Women who are pregnant may be more susceptible to CTS for similar reasons.
  • Women are more likely to have some of the underlying factors that contribute to carpal tunnel syndrome, such as arthritis, obesity, and thyroid issues.

Is it CTS?

Because it is so common, the general public tends to associate any wrist pain with carpal tunnel syndrome. However, many other conditions could cause pain and numbness in the hands and wrists.

If you believe you may have carpal tunnel syndrome, make an appointment with Dr. Arora for an evaluation. You may do so online or by calling one of our offices, located in West Bloomfield, Howell, Warren, and Macomb Township.

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Conditions Elbows General Hands

Cellphone Overload: How to Avoid Hand and Elbow Pain

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Have you ever used your cellphone for so long that your hands became numb, your fingers stopped functioning properly, and you gave up on mentally blaming autocorrect? If so, it was probably slightly comical at the time. If this happens repeatedly, however, soon enough it won’t be funny anymore. If you do use your phone frequently, it’s important to know how to hold your phone to avoid hand and elbow pain.

If you don’t, eventually you could be dealing with something worse than just sore thumbs, uncooperative fingers, and a really hot ear.

Ways to Avoid Hand and Elbow Pain when Using Cellphones

1. Try using text-to-speak, at least every now and then.

2. Use a cellphone stand so you can set the phone on a table or desk instead of holding it. When you do, you can use any finger you want to play those games and give the other fingers a break.

3. Make a conscious effort to regularly stretch and flex your fingers, wrists, and elbows.

4. If you talk on the phone for long periods of time, holding the phone up to your ear can cause discomfort at your elbow. To avoid this problem, try using:

  • A headset
  • The speaker option
  • A video calling app like FaceTime
  • Internet calling options such as Skype

What Could Happen: Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Cubital Tunnel Syndrome

You might believe that the tingling in your hands due to cellphone use is just a temporary sensation, and it probably is. But if you don’t make conscious efforts to avoid hand and elbow pain when using cellphones, you could end up facing some very real issues.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome is the result of swelling and pressure in a “tunnel” in the wrist, which consists of nine tendons and a median nerve.

Causes of this very common condition are unclear, but improper use of keyboards, tools, and even cellphones can increase CTS. Other examples of activities that can increase carpal tunnel syndrome include driving a motorcycle and playing a violin.

Individuals with CTS can experience tingling, a weaker grip, numbness, a tendency to drop things, and pain in the hand and wrist.

Cubital Tunnel Syndrome

Ever wonder why it’s far from funny when something hits your “funny bone”? To the contrary, it’s extremely painful. The truth is that what you feel comes from a nerve that runs behind a bone in the elbow through the “cubital tunnel.”

Pressure on the nerve can affect the blood supply to the nerve, causing arm pain and weakness in the hand. Direct pressure, such as leaning on your elbow, can compress the nerve and cause some of your fingers to “fall asleep.”

Both cubital tunnel syndrome and carpal tunnel syndrome are painful conditions that may lead you to seek medical treatment.

Contact Arora Hand Surgery for More Information

For more information about how cellphone use affects your hands, fingers, wrists, and elbows, explore the Procedures & Conditions pages of our website to learn more about symptoms you may be experiencing. If you’re regularly feeling pain or numbness in your hands or arms, contact one of our Arora Hand Surgery offices by phone or request an appointment online.

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General Treatments Wrists

Treatment Options for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

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Arora Hand Surgery has locations in Macomb Township, Warren, West Bloomfield, and Howell. It is led by Dr. Avery Arora, who specializes in hand, elbow and wrist surgery. Dr. Arora earned his medical degree from the Medical College of Wisconsin and served both his internship and residency in General Surgery at William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Michigan. He then earned a Fellowship in Hand Surgery at the University of Colorado’s Department of Orthopedics. He has also earned board certification in both General Surgery and Hand Surgery. Dr. Arora is a member of the American Association of Hand Surgery and the American Society for Surgery of the Hand. If you are dealing with carpal tunnel syndrome, Dr. Arora is your go-to doctor.

What Services Does Arora Hand Surgery Offer?

Arora Hand Surgery provides a range of treatments for conditions affecting the hand, fingers, forearm, wrist and elbow. Some of the conditions, like Dupuytren’s contracture, are peculiar to the hand, while others, like skin cancer, are not.

Other conditions that can be treated at Arora Hand Surgery include the following:

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Sprains
  • Lateral epicondylitis
  • Arthritis
  • Trigger finger
  • Fractures

What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and How is it Treated?

Carpal tunnel syndrome is basically a pinched nerve in the wrist. It is caused by increased pressure on the median nerve. Symptoms include tingling, pain and numbness in the fingers, hand and arm.

Treatment options vary and can depend on the cause. While it is often not possible to determine the exact cause of carpal tunnel syndrome, it is sometimes linked to diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and some thyroid conditions. In this case, treating the disease can at least improve the symptoms.

If there is no known cause, and the syndrome is relatively mild, our doctor may recommend splinting the wrist to keep it straight and relieve pressure on the nerve. The patient may wear the splint at night to relieve any symptoms that are interfering with their sleep. Our doctor may also suggest using the affected hand less. In certain cases, he may recommend a steroid injection to reduce the nerve’s swelling.

In severe or unresponsive cases, our doctor may recommend carpal tunnel release, a surgical procedure in which the ligament that runs across the wrist and the median nerve is cut to make more room for the latter.

Make an Appointment Today

Dr. Arora and his team at Arora Hand Surgery are committed to providing patients in the area with first-class care. If you are dealing with carpal tunnel syndrome or any other condition affecting the hand, fingers, wrist, elbow or thumb, set up an appointment at our office in West Bloomfield, Howell, Warren, or Macomb as soon as possible. Contact us today to schedule a consultation!

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Conditions General Wrists

Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

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When a person has carpal tunnel syndrome, they will often feel a numbness or tingling in their hands. Their hands will feel weak, and they will not have the control over their hands that they did prior to developing the condition. This is because carpal tunnel syndrome puts pressure on the median nerve, which is located in your wrist. This nerve is essential for proper hand functioning and sensation.

The median nerve, along with other tendons needed for hand movement, run through your carpal tunnel. It is a small space that is located in your wrist. The median nerve controls all of your fingers with the exception of your pinky.

What are the Causes of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

The pressure that is put on the median nerve is usually due to swelling. However, it can be anything that makes that carpal tunnel space, where the median nerve and tendons travel, smaller. Some of the most common causes of carpal tunnel syndrome include:

  • Diabetes
  • Arthritis
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Repetitive hand movements
  • Pregnancy

What are the Most Common Symptoms?

Pain, weakness, a tingling sensation and numbness in the fingers are the most common symptoms associated with carpal tunnel syndrome. In some instances, people will have pain between their hand and their elbow.

Carpal tunnel syndrome often exhibits symptoms in the middle finger, the thumb and the index finger. You may also feel the sensation in the lower half of your ring finger. Since a different nerve gives the sensation to your pinky finger, it is not affected with carpal tunnel syndrome.

Most people say that they experience the most powerful symptoms at night. The symptoms can be so strong that they cause people to wake up and find relief by shaking their hand.

What Steps Can Be Taken to Diagnose Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

With carpal tunnel syndrome, our doctor will physically examine your hands and your arms. He will talk with you about health issues you may have, ranging from arthritis to diabetes. He will likely ask about any recent injuries to your arm, wrist or neck. Our doctor will be keenly interested in knowing about your daily routine. During the examination, our doctor can test your hand for strength, reaction time, sensation and endurance.

When it comes to getting treatment for carpal tunnel, the sooner you start, the better. The sooner you begin treatment, the greater chance you have of preventing long-term damage to the median nerve. The team at Arora Hand Surgery can come up with a customized treatment for you with the goal of eliminating pain and improving sensation and mobility in the affected hand. Contact us today to schedule a consultation at our office in West Bloomfield, Howell, Warren, or Macomb.

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Conditions General Treatments

Diagnosis and Treatment of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

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Carpal tunnel syndrome is when the median nerve that runs through the wrist becomes compressed. This can happen when the tunnel that houses the nerve and tendons that connect to the fingers becomes irritated and causes the passageway to narrow. This leads to symptoms like numbness and tingling of the hand and fingers. It will eventually lead to weakness too, making it more difficult to grip items or do things like holding onto a steering wheel.

A number of factors can contribute to carpal tunnel syndrome. One of them is the repetitive motion that frequently takes place in the workplace. Using the same hand motion over and over can eventually take its toll. Other factors can include diabetes or simply the individual’s hand anatomy. Some people’s tunnel is naturally smaller than most, making them more susceptible to the disorder.

If you are having symptoms that are consistent with carpal tunnel syndrome, our doctor can perform a series of tests in order to make a diagnosis. He may start by asking you about the symptoms. For example, the little finger is usually not affected by the problem. Numbness and tingling there may indicate a problem other than carpal tunnel syndrome.

Next, a physical examination of the hand may be conducted by checking the feeling in the fingers and testing the strength in the affected hand. Our doctor may even order an X-ray of the hand and wrist to rule out other problems like arthritis. More complex tests that check for electrical impulses may also be done, in some cases.

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition that is easier to treat when it is detected early. Mild cases of it may be cured by simply avoiding the motions that produce the symptoms as much as possible and taking more frequent breaks.

If these measures do not help, or if the problem has progressed too far before the individual seeks help for it, our doctor may recommend the use of a splint to immobilize the wrist for a while. This may be accompanied by the use of steroid injections, depending on the situation.

If the condition continues to get worse, more extensive treatments like surgery may become necessary. The purpose of these surgical procedures is to relieve the pressure on the median nerve. This may be done by targeting the ligament that is pressing on the nerve.

If you are having symptoms that could be caused by carpal tunnel syndrome, you should have them evaluated by our doctor at Arora Hand Surgery as soon as possible. Diagnosing the problem sooner means it has a greater chance of being successfully treated with conservative measures. Contact us today to schedule a consultation at our office in West Bloomfield, Howell, Warren, or Macomb.

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Conditions General

What Causes Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

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Surrounded by bones and ligaments, the carpel tunnel is the narrow space located on the palm side of your wrist. The main nerve and tendons that control the movement of your hand and fingers run through this tunnel. Affecting one or both hands, carpal tunnel syndrome causes pain and burning sensations that travel up your arm from the wrist. The symptoms typically affect the thumb, index finger and middle finger.

Women are more likely to be diagnosed with this condition, which is often more troublesome at night. The symptoms typically present themselves between the ages of 30 and 60. A number of factors can cause a pinched median nerve in your wrist.

Running from your forearm, the median nerve provides the sense of touch for your thumb and first three fingers. The numbness and tingling symptoms of carpel tunnel syndrome occur when the nerve is compressed. Chronic inflammation associated with an underlying medical condition is the most common reason for the swelling and compression.

Ailments typically related to the condition include diabetes, thyroid dysfunction and autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis. High blood pressure and fluid retention associated with pregnancy or menopause can also cause inflammation in your wrist. Fractures or other trauma can cause carpal tunnel syndrome as well. Detrimental lifestyle choices like smoking, an increased body mass index and a high salt intake may increase the risk for developing carpal tunnel syndrome.

Repeated motions of your wrist can contribute to inflammation and swelling. Regularly overextending your wrist can make the symptoms worse. This type of physical stress occurs in occupations like assembly line work, construction and professions requiring constant keyboarding.

If you are experiencing the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome, schedule an appointment at Arora Hand Surgery so that a comprehensive assessment can be conducted. Treatment options will depend on the severity of your condition. Typically, the earlier the syndrome is diagnosed and treated, the more favorable the outcome.

During a consultation at our office in West Bloomfield, Howell, Warren, or Macomb, our team may also provide information on helpful lifestyle changes. These measures can reduce the risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome in the future or provide significant long-term improvement or elimination of symptoms if you are already afflicted with the disorder.

You do not have to live with the debilitating effects of carpal tunnel syndrome. With the right treatment options and lifestyle changes, you can experience a significant improvement in your quality of life with help from Avery Arora, MD and his team at Arora Hand Surgery. Contact us today to book your appointment.

Categories
Conditions General Wrists

Understanding Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

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You have nerves in your wrist that play very important roles in your hands. One of these nerves, called the median, runs through the wrist and can become compressed or pinched. As a result, carpal tunnel syndrome may occur. When this happens, you might experience pain, swelling, numbness, and tingling. Eventually, as the swelling gets worse, you could lose partial use of your hand.

Because carpal tunnel syndrome can be caused by a variety of different issues, your doctor may not be able to pinpoint your specific problem. Causes can include:

  • Swelling to tendons and their lining in the arm and wrist
  • Dislocation of the joints in the wrist or hands
  • Arthritis
  • Holding the wrist in a bent position for extended periods of time
  • Fluid retention during pregnancy
  • Thyroid problems

Again, though, your physician may not know the exact cause, but can still diagnose carpal tunnel syndrome.

The Symptoms

As mentioned, as the median nerve is put under more and more pressure, you will experience pain, tingling, and numbness in the hand. You will notice that it effects the thumb, ring, index and middle fingers specifically. Generally, these symptoms will be more noticeable at night.

Other symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome includes weakness in grip, hand clumsiness, and loss of sensation in the thumb.

Treatment of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Depending on the severity of the condition, different treatments can be used. For example, a doctor may recommend that you change how you use your hand and hold your wrist. You may also need to splint your wrist so that it remains straight. This will relieve pressure on the median nerve and allow the inflammation to subside.

Sometimes, your doctor may recommend that you have a steroid injection directly in the wrist. This will reduce swelling and inflammation, easing the discomfort. If your doctor has gone through all of these things or your carpal tunnel syndrome is very severe, then surgery may be needed to rectify the issue. When surgery is chosen, the procedure is simple. The surgeon will need to make an incision on the palm side of your hand and then cut through some of the ligaments around the nerve. This will relieve pressure.

Recovery from surgery will mean a few weeks of discomfort at the incision site. Numbness and tingling that you experienced from the carpal tunnel syndrome may disappear almost immediately, or it may slowly get less and less until you do not notice it anymore. You can expect several months of recovery before you regain full use of your hand. In some, isolated cases, surgery may not fully relieve all symptom of carpal tunnel syndrome.

Many people develop carpal tunnel syndrome because they have to bend their wrists for extended periods of time. For example, people who type on a computer regularly are at high risk. However, no matter what you may do, you could develop the condition. Depending on symptoms, there are different ways your problem can be treated so that any pain or discomfort can be relieved.

Resources:

http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/carpal_tunnel/detail_carpal_tunnel.htm

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Dr. Aroras office from my first call to schedule my appointment was friendly. Walking in the first day, I felt like I was in a nice atmosphere. Dr. Arora was EXCELLENT in taking great care of my hand injury. He was gentle and very understanding to the concerns I had about my hand. His expertise was admirable and I would recommend anyone with an injury to their hand to his office to be under his care. Because of him, I have healed faster than expected and will make an 100% recovery! Thank you Dr.

Jackie S.

I first thought I was going to have to have painful injections or surgery, but Dr. Arora suggested physical therapy may do the trick. I was doubtful, but I agreed to do it. Now, my pain is gone, and with the help of an ergonomic keyboard at work to keep my hands in the correct position, I am virtually pain free. The therapy strengthened my wrists and shoulders, and built more flexibility into my wrists.

Jerry T.

My experience with this doctor was positive from the outset. Dr. Arora was kind and spent a great deal of time with me. Staff was friendly. The office was nice and bright.

Ariel G.

Very friendly and helpful Great staff!!! Doctor Arora was very professional and did great work. I was very happy with everything!

L B.