Formerly known as Alaska Hand-Elbow-Shoulder & Rhyneer Caylor Clinic.

What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome | Carpal Tunnel Surgery in Anchorage, AK

A common orthopedic condition is called Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.  Many people experience pain, numbness, and tingling in their hands and are unsure of the cause. Some describe it as feeling like needles are being stuck in their fingers, others as dullness in them. These symptoms might indicate Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. This blog post will inform you of the symptoms, possible causes, and treatment options for this orthopedic condition, and we’ll even recommend an excellent hand surgeon in Anchorage, AK.

What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

The “carpal tunnel” is bordered by the eight carpal bones of the wrist (found along the bottom and sides of the tunnel) and the transverse carpal ligament (at the top of the tunnel).  The carpal tunnel surrounds multiple flexor tendons that allow the fingers to flex (bend).  Also within this tunnel is the median nerve, a softer structure containing the nerve fibers that are primarily responsible for sensation to the thumb, index, long and half of the ring fingers. Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when pressure within the tunnel increases, thereby compressing the median nerve and restricting blood supply to those fingers.

Possible causes

Many factors may contribute to increased pressure within the carpal tunnel, including inflammation of the flexor tendons, fluid retention, wrist injuries, rheumatoid or degenerative arthritis, diabetes, hypothyroidism, and pregnancy. Repetitive or assembly-type jobs can contribute to carpal tunnel syndrome, such as sewing, fishing, cleaning, manufacturing, and packaging.  Carpal tunnel syndrome is most frequent in middle-aged women, but can affect women or men at almost any age.

Signs and symptoms

Temporal and extended signs that patients with carpal tunnel syndrome could experience include:

  1. Numbness, pain, tingling, and burning across the thumb, index, and other fingers.
  2. Uncontrolled reflexes: loss of proprioception might cause patients to act abruptly.
  3. Unconsciously dropping objects: shakiness, numbness, and weakness might result in a sudden drop of things without being aware.
  4. Periodic shock-like sensation affecting all the fingers and some parts of the forearm.
  5. Mild pain and tingling traveling from the fingers to the shoulder.

Treatment and where to get a carpal tunnel syndrome surgery in Anchorage, AK | Alaska Orthopedic Specialists

Surgical or non-surgical treatment is available for people with carpal tunnel syndrome, depending on the severity of the symptoms experienced by the patient. Patients with mild symptoms are usually treated conservatively by making changes or modifications to activities, bracing and splinting, nerve gliding exercises, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or  steroid injections.

If conservative treatment is not effective, surgery may be recommended. An incision is made in the palm to expose the transverse carpal ligament that forms the roof of the carpal tunnel.  The ligament is cut (released) in order to relieve pressure on the median nerve. 

Have you been diagnosed with Carpal tunnel syndrome? Alaska Orthopedic Specialists is the right place for you. Our team  will help evaluate your symptoms and recommend either conservative or surgical treatment to help manage your symptoms and improve your quality of life. Visit Alaska Orthopedic Specialists in the MGM Professional Building at 4015 Lake Otis Parkway Suite 201 Anchorage, Alaska 99508. Book an appointment here or call (907) 771-3500.