Carpal tunnel syndrome is a very common condition in which the small tunnel in the wrist where the median nerve travels through (i.e. the “carpal tunnel”) is compromised. This may lead to pressure on the median nerve and cause the symptoms classically reported in carpal tunnel syndrome - burning pain, numbness, and weakness in the hand and fingers. Pain at night is also common. A variety of mechanisms has been associated with the development of carpal tunnel syndrome, although in many cases, no single cause can be identified. As the condition advances, it can become extremely painful and in advanced cases, patients may find it difficult to hold a pencil or pick up something small.
In the early stages of carpal tunnel syndrome, the condition can be managed with anti-inflammatory medications and over the counter pain relievers. Bracing or splinting can be helpful as well. If the symptoms progress, special nerve studies may be recommended to assess the health of the nerve or to help rule out other causes of the symptoms. If the condition becomes more advanced, injections of steroid medication and surgery may be required to help relieve the symptoms and lessen the chance of permanent nerve injury. Surgery can be performed in several different ways, including open, mini-open, and endoscopic. Each method has unique advantages and disadvantages. A discussion with the surgeon is necessary to determine if and when surgery is needed and what type of surgery is right for an individual patient.
Surgery is often not necessary to treat carpal tunnel syndrome. Patients with early stage symptoms can be managed with bracing and injections. If a risk factor for the development of carpal tunnel syndrome is identified, avoiding or altering this activity may prevent worsening or relieve symptoms. Dr. Carlson makes it a goal to try to prevent patients from having to undergo surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome. Sometimes, however, in advanced cases, surgery is the best and safest option to optimize the long-term health of the patient.
At Active Orthopaedics, we accept most major insurance plans. Here is a short-list of just some of the most popular plans we accept. Please contact our office if you do not see your insurance provider listed.
"Dr. Carlson was courteous and practical, and ready to propose options. Despite the late Friday hour, he also spent extra time with me to discuss about other concerns."
"I'm walking better than I have in months after my knee surgery. I'd definitely see Dr. Kaplan again should the need arise."