Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a condition that occurs when there is an inflammation in or damage to the tendons and tissues surrounding the carpal tunnel (the narrow passageway that houses the median nerve). Inflammation or damage to these structures consequently puts pressure on the median nerve, which is responsible for controlling the coarse movements of the hand.
CTS causes numbness and sharp, piercing pain that both shoot through the wrist and up the arms. These symptoms typically develop gradually and are often more pronounced at night, when temperatures are cold, or when a person uses fine motor skills, such as grasping and gripping.
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it is in your best interest to see a hand doctor, especially if they are starting to disrupt your sleep and wreak havoc on your overall quality of life. If left untreated, CTS can cause permanent nerve damage.
Let’s learn about how a hand doctor can help you with your carpal tunnel syndrome and find out where to see a highly skilled hand doctor in Broward County, Florida for effective intervention.
Pinpointing the Cause
Carpal tunnel syndrome produces symptoms that mimic those of other conditions, such as arthritis and muscle, tendon, and ligament injuries. A hand doctor can rule out or confirm CTS through the following diagnostic tests:
A hand doctor will examine your neck, shoulder, hands, and fingers for swelling, tenderness, and discolorations.
Imaging Tests (Ultrasounds)
Ultrasounds can detect CTS symptoms that correlate well with the swelling of the median nerve.
Nerve Conduction Studies
This involves measurement of conduction velocity—the speed at which an electrochemical impulse propagates down a neural pathway—across the carpal tunnel, as well as determination of the amplitude of sensory and motor responses.
This is a test to detect any sign of irritation in your nerves. A hand doctor will perform a Tinel’s test by lightly tapping the nerve to elicit a tingling sensation in the distribution of the nerve.
This test is aimed at detecting a compression in the median nerve. In this test, a hand doctor will have you hold the back of your hands against each other with your fingers down. You will have to hold the position for a minute for the hand doctor to make assessments.
Addressing the Condition through Nonsurgical Treatment Methods
A hand doctor will likely recommend the following nonsurgical treatment approaches to address your symptoms:
- Splints for you to wear at night to give your wrist a period of relative rest from any movements that may exacerbate your condition
- Medications for pain management and/or corticosteroid injections
- Physical therapy and/ or regenerative therapy, such as platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy and stem cell therapy)
Additionally, a hand doctor may recommend that you redesigning your workspace and make other ergonomic adjustments to improve your condition.
Recommending Carpal Tunnel Release Surgery as the Last Resort
A hand doctor may recommend carpal tunnel release if symptoms don’t respond to conservative treatments. There are two types of carpal tunnel release surgery: the traditional method and endoscopic carpal tunnel release.
In a traditional method, a hand doctor will create a large incision at the base of your palm then cut the transverse carpal tunnel ligament, thereby releasing pressure on the median nerve, and consequently, relieving the symptoms of CTS.
In an endoscopic carpal tunnel release, a hand doctor will create a small incision at the base of your wrist, then insert a thin, flexible tube with a camera on its tip (endoscope) to access the transverse carpal tunnel ligament without making a large incision. An endoscopic release has the same objective, only that it is minimally invasive, and therefore, involves a quicker recovery time.
Hand Doctor in Broward County, FL
Here at Total Orthopaedic Care, our team includes board-certified orthopedic surgeons who have had intensive training and extensive experience in the diagnosis and treatment of a wide variety of orthopedic injuries and conditions that affect the hand, such as carpal tunnel syndrome. They are experts in both non-surgical and surgical treatments and will recommend the best course of treatment based on the result of their comprehensive evaluation.
If physical therapy is necessary, we have licensed physical therapists on-site, so you never have to go elsewhere for your care.
To schedule a consultation with one of our hand doctors, please call us at (954) 735-3535 or you may use this request an appointment form. We’re always ready to give you a helping hand!