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Tag: Carpal Tunnel

General Wrists

What is the Carpal Tunnel?

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The phrase “carpal tunnel syndrome” is well-known but often misunderstood. If you have been experiencing pain in your wrists and have been diagnosed with CTS, chances are you asked: What does that mean? What is the carpal tunnel? Is having a carpal tunnel bad?

Before we go any further, let’s get this straight first: You are supposed to have a carpal tunnel. You were born with it.

But it’s not supposed to hurt.

What is the Carpal Tunnel?

The carpal tunnel is literally a tunnel found in your wrists. It is a space in the wrist where nine tendons and the median nerve pass from the arm into the hand. About an inch wide, it protects the median nerve and flexor tendons that bend the fingers and thumb.

It is formed by two layers: a deep carpal arch and a superficial flexor retinaculum.  The bottom and sides of this tunnel are formed by small wrist bones called carpal bones. The top, located on the palm side, is a strong band of connective tissue called the transverse carpal ligament.

The nine tendons in this area of the wrist are:

  • One flexor pollicis longus
  • Four tendons of flexor digitorum profundus
  • Four tendons of flexor digitorum superficialis

Why Do My Wrists Hurt Sometimes?

Pain in the wrists may be caused by carpal tunnel syndrome, which occurs when there is pressure and swelling in this tunnel. Possible causes of CTS include arthritis, thyroid conditions, pregnancy, diabetes, high blood pressure, and injury.

A significant factor believed to cause or exacerbate the pain is repetitive use of the wrists, especially without taking proper precautions. Examples include participating in sports, games, or other hobbies, as well as use of a computer keyboard or tools at work.

Dr. Arora will perform ultrasound testing or order an electromyography (EMG) study to confirm the diagnosis prior to proceeding with any significant treatments.

Prevention and self-care tips may help alleviate the pain associated with this syndrome. They include using ergonomically designed furniture and equipment; using proper form and protective gear while operating tools; and wearing a wrist guard while participating in activities that strain your wrists.

In some cases, more significant remedies may be advised, such as wearing a brace on the wrists when you sleep, using oral steroid medications, or undergoing steroid injections.  For persistent pain, you may elect to undergo a surgical procedure that enlarges the tunnel in order to decrease pressure.

For more information about what the carpal tunnel is, what it is comprised of, and how to alleviate wrist pain, visit the Arora Hand Surgery website or call us to make an appointment.

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General Wrists

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: Condition Often Comes with Serious Consequences

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If you are experiencing carpal tunnel syndrome, like Al Roker has, schedule an appointment to see our hand surgeon.
Al Roker is among the celebrities who have experienced carpal tunnel syndrome.

Playing video games, typing on a keyboard, driving a motorcycle, and playing a musical instrument can all make the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome worse, and anyone who has experienced it will tell you it’s serious business.

Carpal tunnel syndrome, which is a pinched nerve that results from pressure and swelling in a “tunnel” in the wrist, can be much more painful than the general public realizes.

In fact, in October Al Roker of “The Today Show” was forced to undergo emergency carpal tunnel surgery when he lost use of his thumb during rehearsals for a Broadway show.

But he is far from the only star who has experienced CTS.

  • When Jessica Alba woke up to a numb arm, she worried that she had experienced a stroke. As it turns out, she was experiencing carpal tunnel syndrome, which women are three times more susceptible to than men are.
  • Online gaming and video games are often the culprits when it comes to irritating existing carpal tunnel issues, as “Friends” star Matthew Perry and Boston Red Sox Pitcher David Price might possibly tell you.
  • In 2015, Brooke Shields underwent carpal tunnel surgery on both of her wrists.
Jessica Alba is one of the celebrities who has experienced carpal tunnel syndrome.
Jessica Alba worried that she had experienced a stroke when she felt the effects of carpal tunnel syndrome, which women are more susceptible to than men are. (Photo courtesy of PMK)

The exact causes of CTS are unclear, so that means it can essentially affect anyone at any time. Some activities, like those mentioned above, can exacerbate the condition, which includes pain, swelling, and numbness in the hands.

Although you might not be able to avoid CTS completely, you can be proactive by:

  • Using proper posture as you’re typing and also using ergonomic keyboards
  • Using wrist braces during activities like bowling
  • Using protection as you’re working in the construction, automobile, and manufacturing industry.

Bending and stretching your wrists every now and then during certain activities can help as well.

In some cases, surgery may be necessary to address the issue. The surgery usually entails cutting a ligament within the carpal tunnel on the palm side of your hand.

If you’re experiencing CTS symptoms, make an appointment to see our hand surgeon for an exam.

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General Treatments Wrists

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: What It Is and How to Prevent It

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We’ve all heard about carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) all our lives, and most of us realize it has something to do with painful wrists.

But why does it happen, really? And is there a way to prevent it?

What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

The general public tends to speak about it casually, but for people who are experiencing carpal tunnel, it can mean extreme pain.

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. Carpal tunnel syndrome is the result of pressure and swelling in this tunnel, which in turn increases pressure to the median nerve, located at the wrist.

Signs of CTS include tingling, numbness, a weaker grip, a tendency to drop things, and pain in the hand, fingers, and arm.

Because a combination of factors may be involved, it can be difficult to determine the exact cause of CTS in each case. Some of these factors may include rheumatoid arthritis, thyroid conditions, pregnancy, diabetes, high blood pressure, and prior injuries.

Activities that can increase carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms include improper use of computer keyboards, regular use of power tools or hand tools, driving a motorcycle, and repeated use of your wrist, such as playing a violin or guitar.

How to Prevent It

Without a definite cause, it can be challenging to completely prevent carpal tunnel syndrome. But you can definitely try to be proactive by using:

  • Proper posture when typing.
  • Adjusting sitting height to allow for a natural angle to the wrist.
  • Ergonomic keyboards.
  • Braces when participating in activities that strain your wrists, such as bowling.
  • Proper protection as possible if you work in the manufacturing, automobile, assembly line, or construction industry.

You should also remember to give your wrists a break from whatever you are doing for a few minutes every couple of hours. During that time, stretch and bend your wrists and hands.

CTS Treatment

CTS symptoms can be relieved by changing patterns of hand use or temporarily splinting the wrist during sleep. A steroid injection that can relieve symptoms around the nerve may be helpful as well.

In more serious cases, surgery may be required to cut the ligament that forms the top of the tunnel on the palm side of the hand. The result is an enlarging of the tunnel and therefore a decrease of pressure on the nerve.

If you are experiencing carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms that cannot be relieved by home remedies, schedule an appointment to see Dr. Avery Arora in West Bloomfield, Howell, Macomb, or Warren.

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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.