Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Hi friends! Jordan Brady and Matthew Toone here with Aspen Ridge Physical Therapy. Today I want to talk about something that happens mostly commonly to women between the ages of 40-60, but it can happen to anyone. We call it Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. The carpal tunnel is an area in the wrist, just before you get to the palm of the hand. The tunnel is formed by the bones of the wrist (called the carpals) and a strong ligament called a retinaculum. The retinaculum crosses over the bones, and there is a small tunnel underneath it that houses the many tendons of the forearm, wrist and hand, as well as the median nerve. Carpal Tunnel syndrome is essentially an aggravation of the structures in that tunnel. It can be very painful and debilitating. So let’s talk about what causes it, and what we can do to help!
What causes Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
- Pressure on the wrist from typing at a computer or other compressive forces
- Repetitive use from playing a sport or an instrument
- Any trauma that causes swelling to occur in the space
- Tendinopathy or irritation of the tendons that cause nerve irritation
- A fracture or osteoarthritis of the bones that make up the carpal tunnel
How do I know if I have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
- Pain in the wrist and/or hand
- Potential numbness or tingling in the thumb, pointer finger and/or middle finger
- Weakness in the hand, including making a fist or pinching between fingers
- Shaking your hands helps alleviate the symptoms
- Pain is worse at night
- Difficulty shaking hands or opening a tight jar
Now let’s talk about treatment. There are several kinds of treatment options. Sometimes, a brace or splint can help limit painful movements. This is not a permanent fix, but can help temporarily. Often changing your work environment and ergonomics to avoid aggravating positions or activities can help reduce the pain. Ultimately however, a personalized evaluation and assessment by a Doctor of Physical Therapy can determine what the best course of action is for you. We, as physical therapists, are trained to identify your areas of weakness, and create an individualized plan of action, that most often includes a specific exercise plan to help reduce inflammation and improve ROM and strength to allow you to return to what it is you love most. In some cases, physical therapy and activity modification are unsuccessful in getting you back to 100%. In these cases, surgery may be indicated. However, we have successfully kept many people out of the operating room.
Our Physical Therapists at Aspen Ridge Physical Therapy are prepared to guide you through a personalized treatment plan based on your body, your goals, and your needs. We serve patients in our Layton location, but see patients of all ages from surrounding areas like Syracuse, Clearfield, Clinton, South Weber, Farmington, Kaysville, Fruit Heights, and Roy areas. Call us today with any questions or to set up an appointment. You can reach us at 801-773-1350.