Dr. Panattoni Explains Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

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Carpal Tunnel is a painful compression of a nerve in the wrist that can interfere with a person's ability to use the wrist and the hand. Carpal tunnel syndrome is a progressive condition that can worsen without proper care. Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common wrist condition that affects millions of Americans. It's known as an overuse injury or chronic condition that most often impacts those who regularly perform tasks that require repetitive motions in the wrist, such as typing or painting.

Over time, chronic pressure develops around the median nerve in the wrist. The carpal tunnel is the passageway for the median nerve along the palmar side of the wrist. When the carpal tunnel is constricted, usually due to swelling in wrist structures like the transverse carpal ligament, the median nerve is compressed. This compression leads to pain, numbness, and tingling in the hand, fingers, and sometimes, the arm.

When left untreated, carpal tunnel syndrome can significantly limit strength and function in the hand and wrist and disrupt daily life. Severe carpal tunnel syndrome is treated with carpal tunnel release (CTR) if conservative measures do not alleviate symptoms. Traditionally, this procedure is performed under general anesthesia, and while it resolves carpal tunnel syndrome, it also leaves scars and requires significant recovery time.