Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common cause of hand pain. The condition develops when the median nerve, which runs through a narrow passageway known as the carpal tunnel, becomes compressed. Since the median nerve controls sensation in all fingers except for the little finger, the condition can cause tingling, numbness, and weakness that affects hand function.
There are various non-surgical treatments for carpal tunnel syndrome. However, they aren’t always effective, and sometimes, surgery may be your best option. Here are some situations where you may be a good candidate for carpal tunnel surgery.
When Non-Surgical Treatments Are No Longer Effective
If you struggle with carpal tunnel syndrome, you can visit an urgent care clinic. Your doctor will start with non-surgical treatments to relieve symptoms. They may ask you to wear a wrist splint while you sleep since symptoms tend to worsen at night. Wearing a splint can also help with daytime symptoms.
Your doctor may prescribe medications, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. These drugs can provide some short-term pain relief. Depending on the severity of your symptoms, your doctor may also recommend corticosteroid injections. Corticosteroids can help with swelling, reducing pressure on the median nerve.
Physical therapy is another option to control painful symptoms. Your physical therapist will design a personalized exercise program to stretch and strengthen the wrist and hand. Make sure to perform these exercises daily.
For some individuals, a mixture of these conservative treatments may provide relief. However, these remedies might not be effective for everyone. If you’ve exhausted these treatments and experience no improvement, your doctor may consider surgery.
When There Is Progressive Damage To The Hand’s Inner Structures
It can be easy to dismiss symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. In its early stages, numbness, tingling, and weakness tend to come and go. Most patients describe it as something similar to a brief electric shock. Left untreated, the symptoms may become more constant and intense until it affects even the most basic of hand movements.
An inflamed median nerve can affect the feeling of the index, middle, and ring fingers. The pinky finger is not as affected since the median nerve extends into all fingers except the pinky. This condition can make it difficult to perform basic tasks, like holding small items, writing, and eating. Over time, the muscles in your hands and wrist may weaken and become smaller because of prolonged nerve compression. In extreme cases, it may result in irreversible nerve damage and hand disability.
If you’re experiencing persistent tingling or numbness, or find it hard to use the hand for basic tasks, it’s best to check in with a doctor. They can order tests to review your treatment options. In some cases, they may recommend electromyography and nerve conduction studies to check the performance of your median nerve.
When Symptoms Interfere With Daily Life
We use our hands countless times throughout the day. Whether it’s buttoning up your shirt, holding your phone, or gripping a steering wheel, nerves and muscles communicate to make these movements possible. Carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms can interrupt this process.
More than noticeable tingling, the condition can also cause you to lose sensation in the hands or fingers. It can also result in muscle weakness. You might be more prone to dropping objects suddenly. The weight of some items may also become too heavy to bear. These symptoms may not necessarily be limited to the wrist and can extend up to the shoulder.
It’s best to visit your doctor at the first sign of symptoms. Your hands are usually a critical part of daily life, especially if your work involves heavy hand use. With an early diagnosis of the symptoms, your doctor can stage the necessary interventions to prevent the symptoms from worsening.
Carpal Tunnel Surgery
Carpal tunnel surgery comes in two forms: open release and endoscopic. The traditional open procedure involves a large incision in the wrist, exposing the tissues so the surgeon can work on them. Conversely, endoscopic surgery makes smaller incisions using small surgical tools and imaging guidance.
During surgery, your doctor will make an incision in the wrist to access the carpal tunnel. From there, they will cut the ligament to free up the nerve. The ligament will heal over time, leaving more space for the median nerve.
Carpal Tunnel Surgeons in Township, MI
There are multiple carpal tunnel treatments available. Your doctor will typically exhaust all non-surgical methods before resorting to surgery.
If you’re searching for a carpal tunnel surgeon in Clinton Township, MI, look no further than Movement Orthopedics. Dr. Troy R. Williams is a board-certified hand surgeon who can diagnose and treat all sorts of hand, wrist, and elbow injuries, including carpal tunnel syndrome.
Should you require surgery, you can rest in the capable hands of Dr. Williams, who is highly skilled in open release and endoscopic procedures for carpal tunnel syndrome. After the procedure, our physical therapy team will design a rehabilitation program to strengthen your hand and restore function.
To schedule an appointment with Dr. Williams, call us today at (586) 436-3785 or use our online form. We look forward to serving you.