Top Signs You Are Developing Carpal Tunnel

Top Signs You Are Developing Carpal Tunnel

Posted on 05-31-2021

Most often, when people feel any pain or discomfort in their hands, the first thought is carpal tunnel syndrome. You need to see your doctor to determine whether you are developing carpal tunnel syndrome or if you have something else entirely.


What Is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

There is a nerve that runs through the carpal tunnel located in your wrist. This nerve, called the median nerve, along with nine tendons and eight wrist bones, are all affected by carpal tunnel. The connective tissues do not have much space to stretch; if you irritate the tissues, the result is inflammation and swelling. The swelling that happens in the tunnel places pressure on the nerve. The result is pain and tingling in your hand, along with stiffness and numbness.

When you engage in a repetitive motion for extended amounts of time, you are at risk of developing carpal tunnel. If you have ever broken a wrist or have arthritis, you are also at risk. Your doctor will evaluate you to determine the best course of action if you are diagnosed with carpal tunnel.


Signs and Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

As carpal tunnel begins to develop, you will experience a variety of signs and symptoms. It starts with occasional numbness and tingling that shows up in your middle finger, index finger, and thumb. You may also experience a burning or sharp pain in your wrist and possibly in your forearm.

If you experience frequent muscle cramps in your forearms or fingers, you may also be on the cusp of developing carpal tunnel syndrome. As the inflammation becomes an issue, you will feel like you cannot grip things as firmly as you used to.

As carpal tunnel progresses, you can develop fluid accumulations overnight in your wrists because they cannot drain properly. The muscles in your hand and wrist can begin to deteriorate, and your hands can feel stiff upon waking.


Reduce the Risk of Developing Carpal Tunnel

To reduce the risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome, you can do a few things. When you are typing, for example, you want your wrists to be as straight as possible. That means either holding them straight or using a wrist rest to keep them in the correct position.

Remember to take breaks every so often when you are making repetitive motions with your hands. Stretch your muscles and fingers regularly. Be careful, though, because you do not want to lean on the heel of your palms because you can overstretch the median nerve.

If you can manage to avoid repetitive activities, you should. If you cannot, at least try to switch hands when you can. While sleeping, you may want to wear wrist braces to force your wrists to stay neutral overnight.

Ultimately, carpal tunnel syndrome is an injury that you sustain, getting worse gradually over time. Give East Bay Hand & Upper Extremity a call at 510-904-1100 to book an appointment at our Oakland, California office.


Please contact us today to schedule an appointment or get more information about our hand and upper extremity surgical services.