The carpal tunnel is a narrow passageway on the inside of the wrist. Carpal tunnel syndrome is a form of nerve damage (neuropathy) that occurs when the nerve that runs through the passageway is squeezed or compressed by the surrounding tissue, causing the following:
- Tingling (pins and needles)
- Problems with fine manipulation (the ability to grasp small or delicate objects)
Symptoms can range from mild to severe. They may last for years at a time or go away and then come back. If carpal tunnel symptoms are affecting your ability to work or enjoy life, experts at Rush can help.
Carpal tunnel syndrome: what you should know
- Numbness, not pain, is the main symptom of carpal tunnel syndrome.
- The strange sensations and pain caused by carpal tunnel syndrome can affect your palm and all fingers except for the pinky.
- Most cases of carpal tunnel syndrome have no identifiable cause. But the condition is seen in association with the following:
How can I find out if I have carpal tunnel syndrome?
Talk to your doctor if you have any of these symptoms:
- Numbness and tingling (pins and needles) in one or both of your hands
- Strange sensations and pain in your palm and all fingers except for your pinky (the smallest finger)
Trouble grasping small or delicate things with your fingers
Care for carpal tunnel syndrome at Rush
If your primary care doctor recommends further evaluation and testing, specialists at Rush can help determine whether your symptoms are caused by carpal tunnel syndrome or another neurological condition.
If you do have carpal tunnel syndrome, these specialists will recommend a course of treatment. Your plan may include the following:
- Wearing a brace
- Modifying certain activities
- Physical therapy or occupational therapy
- Carpal tunnel release surgery to reduce pressure on the nerve
Surgery is often recommended if symptoms are severe or if they are long-standing. Whenever possible, surgeons at Rush do carpal tunnel release procedures using minimally invasive surgery with small incisions rather than larger open procedures. Your surgeon will discuss all of the options with you.
Why choose Rush for carpal tunnel syndrome care
- The orthopedics, neurology and neurological surgery programs at Rush, which include doctors who treat carpal tunnel syndrome, are consistently ranked among the best in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.
- The Neuromuscular Disease Program at Rush is staffed by specialists with more than 50 combined years of experience treating neuromuscular disorders, including carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Orthopedic hand and wrist surgeons at Rush serve as team physicians and consultants for the Chicago Bulls and Chicago White Sox.