Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is a diagnosis that is increasing in our society today.
In a tech savvy world, our hands take a beating from all of our keyboarding, texting, and tool use in daily life.
What is Carpal Tunnel syndrome?
Nine tendons that bend the fingers and thumb and the median nerve pass through the Carpal Tunnel. This tunnel is created by arches in the wrist bones and a thick band of tissue called the Transverse carpal ligament. When irritation occurs to any of these tendons or nerves there is minimal space to allow for swelling and/or inflammation, thus compressing the carpal space.
What are some key symptoms of CTS?
Typical signs and symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome outside of pain include: numbness/tingling experienced in the thumb, pointer finger, middle finger, and along the side of the ring finger; disruption of sleep due to pain, and the frequent dropping of objects.
What causes Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome often comes from overuse and/or repetitive use of the hands/wrist with hobbies/work that impact the wrist and hands. Repetitive work such as repetitive gripping of tools, fine motor work etc. are often the main culprit for creating this inflammation/injury. Often times desk jobs, and fine motor focused mechanical work are the biggest culprits for producing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
What is the role of hand therapy in treating CTS?
Whether your doctor recommends surgical or non-surgical progression of treatment, hand therapy is a tool that can help you manage symptoms of CTS. Oftentimes if caught early, carpal tunnel syndrome can be managed through simple exercises, and environmental modifications. It can be as simple as adding wrist support at your keyboard and an ergonomic mouse at your workstation that can make all the difference. Yet sometimes if your body has a significant amount of inflammation that does not respond to conservative treatment your provider may recommend surgery. In this case hand therapy will be an integral part of your recovery process. From post op care, to early mobilization and transition back into work and hobbies, you will need a hand therapist to walk you through several weeks post op.
Living with Carpal tunnel syndrome can be painful, uncomfortable and very frustrating. Talk to one of the hand therapists at F.I.T. Muscle & Joint Clinic in Kansas City to better understand what course of treatment is best for you. Whether surgical or non-surgical our team is ready to help guide you through the process.