All Posts Tagged: hand pain

What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common and painful disorder of the wrist and hand. In most cases, carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms worsen over time. If you think you may be dealing with carpal tunnel syndrome, it is important to receive a proper diagnosis and treatment before symptoms become more severe.

What Is carpal tunnel syndrome?

The carpal tunnel is a narrow passageway that allows the median nerve to pass from the forearm to the hand. Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the median nerve is pinched or pressed. Pressure from the pinched nerve may cause swelling in the tunnel resulting in pain, numbness, and tingling in the hand and wrist.

Causes

There are various factors that may contribute to the development of carpal tunnel syndrome. Risk factors for this condition include:

– Repetitive Stress
– Arthritis
– Joint dislocations
– Fractures
– Fluid retention during pregnancy
– Swelling of the flexor tendons

Symptoms

Symptoms usually occur along the nerve path and may cause the hand to “fall asleep.” Symptoms are often times felt during the night, but may be noticed during the day as well, while performing normal activities. In most cases, symptoms begin gradually and may come and go. In severe cases, permanent damage may occur, causing loss of sensation and strength in the hand and wrist.

Some symptoms include:

– Numbness and pain in the thumb, index, middle, and ring fingers
– Weak grip
– Tingling
– Sensitivity to cold
– Muscle deterioration

Diagnosis 

Providing a detailed summary of medical conditions, injuries, and how the hands are currently being used, are necessary when diagnosing carpal tunnel syndrome. Nerve tests and x-rays may be taken in order to check for fractures, arthritis, and other possible nerve issues.

Treatment

Treatment options will depend on the severity of the condition. Early treatment options include:

– A wrist splint to reduce pressure on the nerve
– Steroid injections to reduce swelling
– Activity modification

If symptoms persist, or become severe, surgery may be recommended.

To learn more about carpal tunnel syndrome, make an appointment with one of our doctors at Orlando Hand Surgery Associates at any of our three locations.

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Create an Ergonomic Workstation and Alleviate Hand and Arm Pain

Ergonomics is the science concerned with designing and arranging a workspace that fits within the capabilities of the person working in it. A poor ergonomic work environment can cause repetitive strain to the hands and arms, which can lead to pain and discomfort.

Since every work environment is different, it’s important to design your own ergonomic workstation that allows you to complete all necessary daily tasks effectively and comfortably.

Here are a few ways you can relieve hand and arm pain while at work on a computer:

Use a Wrist Rest

Laying wrists on the sharp edges of a desk or a laptop when typing can cause a great deal of pressure on tendons, which could in turn lead to the development of carpal tunnel syndrome. To alleviate stress on the wrists, use a soft wrist rest that will provide support and comfort.

Wrist Positioning

Bending the wrists or fingers up, down, or in an un-natural state when typing, will put strain on the hands and forearms. Make sure that wrists are always in a straight, 90-degree angle or slightly higher position at all times. Also, be cognizant of your mouse grip, making sure that fingers have a natural bend.

Object Placement

Objects that are used often – such as writing utensils, your telephone, and paperwork – should be placed close to your body in order to avoid excessive strain when reaching.

Take Breaks

A small break from typing should be taken multiple times throughout the day, especially when symptoms arise. If you are dealing with any inflammation or joint damage, you should contact your health care provider before doing any stretches.

Here are 3 easy stretches that you can do while at your desk:

  1. Interlace fingers and extend arms in front of you, palms facing away from your body. Do this for 10-20 seconds.
  2. Interlace fingers and extend arms upwards, with palms facing the ceiling. Hold stretch for 10-15 seconds.
  3. Do a shoulder shrug by raising the top of your shoulders towards your ears for 3-5 seconds and then relax into a normal position. Do this 2-3 times.

If you are dealing with constant hand, arm, or shoulder pain, you should contact an upper extremity specialist immediately.

For an evaluation on your upper extremity injuries or issues, you can request an appointment with Dr. George White, Dr. Jason Pirozzolo, Dr. Brian White or Dr. Anup Patel by clicking here, or calling (407) 841-2100.

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