Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: Causes & Symptoms

Carpal Tunnel Surgeon Los Angeles

The carpal tunnel is a rigid, narrow passageway or tunnel in the wrist through which a series of important tendons travel into the hand. Along with these tendons, there is a nerve that runs through this passageway, known as the median nerve. The median nerve runs from the arm into the palm of the hand and is responsible for controlling sensation and movement throughout a majority of the hand.

When the median nerve becomes squeezed or pressed within the walls of the carpal tunnel this is known as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. This condition usually only occurs in adults.

Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome usually start out as minor and become gradually more obvious with time. Initial symptoms may include:

  • A frequent tingling, burning or itching sensation in the palm and fingers.
  • Numbness of the palm and fingers. This feeling is often described as similar to the pins-and-needles sensation one feels when the hand or foot falls asleep.
  • The feeling that one’s fingers are swollen when there is little or no visible swelling

These symptoms are often most prevalent in the palm, thumb, pointer, middle and ring fingers.

It is common for those with the condition to first start noticing these symptoms at night or directly after waking up in the morning. As the condition worsens, one may experience the following symptoms:

  • Pain when holding small objects or driving
  • Weakness of grip, particularly in the thumb, pointer and middle fingers
  • Difficulty grasping objects or forming a fist
  • Difficulty with manual tasks
  • In some cases, difficulty differentiating between hot and cold temperatures
  • If untreated, the condition may cause the muscles at the bottom of the thumb to deteriorate.

It is not unusual for an individual to develop carpal tunnel syndrome in both wrists. However symptoms normally develop in the dominant hand first.

Causes of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome often results from a combination of factors that cause the median nerve to become squeezed. Because the carpal tunnel – which is formed of ligament and bone – is both narrow and rigid, any swelling in the area can cause pressure to be placed on the median nerve. Additionally, some individuals are born with a smaller, narrower carpal tunnel, thereby predisposing them to median nerve compression. There are several health conditions and other factors that may contribute to or cause the development of carpal tunnel syndrome, these include:

  • Sprains, fractures or other injury to the wrist
  • Frequent use of vibrating hand tools
  • Overactivity of the pituitary gland
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Gout
  • Diabetes
  • Fluid retention due to pregnancy or menopause
  • Formation of a cyst within the carpal tunnel itself

Although it has often been said that repetitive manual activity, such as typing, is a common cause for carpal tunnel syndrome, there is little clinical data to back this up – despite studies having been conducted in the area. Clinical data has however shown that women are more likely to develop the condition than men.

Top Carpal Tunnel Specialists Los Angeles

If you are suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome or think you may be experiencing early symptoms, you have come to the right place. Our expert hand doctors and top carpal tunnel surgeon, here at the Hand & Wrist Center Los Angeles, are the leaders in carpal tunnel surgery in Los Angeles & Beverly Hills. Contact our offices today or click here to schedule a consultation.

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