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Carpal tunnel syndrome

The carpal tunnel is a narrow, rigid passageway of ligament and bones at the base of the hand where the median nerve and tendons run. When the median nerve is compressed by injured or swollen tissues, you feel pain, tingling, weakness or numbness in the hand and wrist, and sometimes up the arm. Symptoms especially affect the thumb, index and middle fingers. Early diagnosis and treatment can help avoid permanent damage to the median nerve.

A Tenet Florida Physician Services doctor first makes sure carpal tunnel is not related to an underlying condition like diabetes. As the physical exam progresses, the doctor will check for swelling, sensation, weakness, and tenderness. Sometimes an X-ray or MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) study is used to help diagnosis.

Beginning treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome as early as possible will help avoid more serious nerve damage. Usually doctors first recommend rest, anti-inflammatory medications, immobilization through a splint or other device, and simple hand exercises.

Sometimes more intervention is needed to relieve carpal tunnel syndrome that persists longer than six months. Carpal tunnel release, one of the most common surgical procedures in the United States, may be performed to ease the strain on the hand and wrist. Your Tenet doctor can discuss if this procedure is right for you.

Previous Page Last Review Date: January 4, 2018