Experts estimate that 4 to 10 million Americans have carpal tunnel syndrome. The condition is quite painful, but it’s also usually treatable.
If you’re experiencing wrist pain, numbness or tingling, or weakness in your hand, you may have carpal tunnel syndrome, but it’s important to let the expert providers at Orthocenter properly diagnose your problem. Many other issues can cause similar symptoms.
Your carpal tunnel is a formation of bones and tendons that protect your median nerve, which controls the movement and feeling in your thumb and the feeling in all of your fingers except your pinky. It’s an important nerve!
When you have inflammation, swelling, or damage to the structures that form the tunnel, it can put pressure on your median nerve, causing the uncomfortable sensations associated with carpal tunnel syndrome.
You may experience symptoms only occasionally, but as the condition progresses, you’re more likely to have constant symptoms. Symptoms also range in severity from tingling feelings in your fingers to losing most of the functionality of your hand.
Some people never know exactly why they develop carpal tunnel syndrome. It’s more likely to occur in adults between the ages of 30 and 60, and women are much more likely than men to develop it. Here are five potential causes.
Your genetic makeup may make it more likely you’ll get carpal tunnel syndrome. Your bone structure is hereditary, for example, so you may be born with the tendency to have a narrow, small carpal tunnel. A smaller tunnel is simply more easily narrowed.
Scientists aren’t sure how much your genes contribute to carpal tunnel syndrome, and there’s not a test you can take to find out if you have a genetic tendency to it. However, if people in your family have carpal tunnel syndrome, you’re more likely to as well.
Several health issues can contribute to carpal tunnel syndrome. For example, the inflammation and swelling associated with rheumatoid arthritis can cause carpal tunnel syndrome. Similarly, diabetes, thyroid dysfunction, and high blood pressure are all associated with carpal tunnel syndrome.
Previous trauma to your wrist, such as a break or fracture, may also lead to development of carpal tunnel syndrome later.
If you have a job or even a hobby that requires you to make the same motion again and again many times per day, it can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome. People who work in manufacturing facilities, especially on an assembly line, have a higher risk of carpal tunnel syndrome.
Other occupations that have an increased risk of carpal tunnel syndrome include construction work or a job that requires use of a keyboard.
Activities that require you to extend or flex your wrist for a long period of time can increase your risk of carpal tunnel syndrome. For example, playing the piano or doing gymnastics requires wrist flexion and extension and may contribute to carpal tunnel syndrome.
During pregnancy you may retain more fluid than usual. That fluid can lead to swelling in your wrists, which can narrow your carpal tunnel and cause symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.
If you have tingling, numbness, or other odd sensations in your fingers, wrist pain, or your hand feels weak, schedule an appointment at Orthocenter. Call one of the three offices, in Red Bank, Morganville, or Holmdel, New Jersey, or request an appointment online. Our experts can evaluate your situation and suggest effective treatments.