Carpal Tunnel FAQs
Following are the common questions about Carpal Tunnel:
- What is carpal tunnel?
- What is Carpal tunnel syndrome?
- How do I know if I have carpal tunnel syndrome?
- How do you get carpal tunnel syndrome?
- When are carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms often most troubling?
- How can I prevent carpal tunnel syndrome?
- How is carpal tunnel syndrome diagnosed?
- How long does it take to develop CTS?
- Can carpal tunnel syndrome be cured?
- What foods can help prevent or treat Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
- What foods to avoid if you have carpal tunnel syndrome?
- What are some effective home remedies for mild carpal tunnel syndrome?
- What is the first mode of treatment for Carpal tunnel syndrome?
- What is Endoscopic Carpal Tunnel Release Surgery?
- What is Open Carpal Tunnel Release Surgery?
- What are the common signs of complications after carpal tunnel surgery?
- What is the average cost of Endoscopic Carpal Tunnel Release Surgery?
- Is carpal tunnel surgery covered by medical insurance in India?
- Can carpal tunnel syndrome come back again after surgery?
- What is the risk of delaying carpal tunnel surgery?
Q. What is carpal tunnel?
A. Carpal tunnel is present in the wrist and is formed by the carpal bones (present on the bottom of the wrist) and the transverse carpal ligament ( present on the top of the wrist). The median nerve is responsible for providing sensory and motor functions to the thumb and middle fingers. In simple words, the median vein allows sensation, feeling, and movement to the hand. If the median nerve gets compressed or injured, the patient may experience symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.
Q. What is Carpal tunnel syndrome?
A. Carpal tunnel syndrome, also known as CTS, is a condition in which there is excessive pressure on the median nerve of the wrist. Carpal tunnel syndrome can lead to symptoms like a tingling sensation, weakness, numbness, or muscle damage in the hand and fingers ( thumb, index finger, and middle finger).
Q. How do I know if I have carpal tunnel syndrome?
A. Common symptoms of CTS usually include-
- Clumsiness of the hand when gripping objects
- Numbness or tingling in the thumb, palm, index finger, and middle finger
- Hand and wrist pain that may extend to the elbow
- Problems with coordination or fingers and fine finger movements in one or both hands
- Wasting away and weakness of the muscle under the thumb
- Weak grip or difficulty carrying objects
- Weakness in one or both hands
Q. How do you get carpal tunnel syndrome?
A. Injury to the wrist while slipping or falling and overuse and repetitive movements of the wrist are the most common reasons behind CTS. However, CTS is also common in pregnant females and typically resolves after pregnancy. Many people get carpal tunnel syndrome due to extensive use of a computer mouse or laptop which places a lot of stress on the wrist and the median nerve.
Q. When are carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms often most troubling?
A. Carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms are typically the worst at night. CTS affects the thumb, index, and middle fingers and wearing wrist splint while sleeping is often recommended to manage CTS at night.
Q. How can I prevent carpal tunnel syndrome?
A. You can prevent CTS by-
- Avoiding repetitive wrist movements
- Avoiding overusing the hand and wrist
- If your job involves prolonged use of your hand or wrist, do hand and wrist strengthening and stretching exercises to promote wrist strength.
Q. How is carpal tunnel syndrome diagnosed?
A. Your orthopedic or hand doctor will discuss your symptoms, lifestyle and will check your medical history, followed by a physical examination of the hand. Your doctor may recommend that you have diagnostic tests like electrodiagnostic tests as they are the optimum way to diagnose carpal tunnel syndrome. Electrodiagnostic tests stimulate the muscles and nerves in the hand to see how well they are functioning.
Q. How long does it take to develop CTS?
A. The onset of carpal tunnel syndrome can range from a few days to several months or years, depending on the cause and severity. Many people who are involved in the repetitive wrist and hand use develop CTS at different rates, depending on the nature of their job or work.
Q. Can carpal tunnel syndrome be cured?
A. Carpal tunnel syndrome can often be cured with surgery. People who have severe and prolonged CTS can find relief with carpal tunnel release surgery. Surgery can treat symptoms and stop the condition from getting worse.
Q. What foods can help prevent or treat Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
A. Adding foods that prevent or fight inflammation may help reduce symptoms or prevent carpal tunnel syndrome-
- Dark leafy green vegetables, red or yellow peppers, carrots, red tomatoes and bell peppers.
- Salmon, sardines, and tuna can help reduce CTS symptoms and inflammation.
- Pineapple, coconut, cherries and blueberries contain large amounts of antioxidants to fight inflammation.
- Walnuts contain omega-3 fatty acids which can help to reduce swelling.
- Chia seeds or flax seeds fatty acids help to reduce swelling.
- Vitamin B6, which is present in spinach, is extremely effective for carpal tunnel symptoms.
- Vitamin B6 which is also found in cantaloupe, cauliflower, bananas, oranges and chicken.
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids & Fish Oils
- Root Vegetables like garlic, turmeric, onions, and ginger.
- Green Tea
- Olive Oil
- Whole Grains
- Dark Chocolate
Q. What foods to avoid if you have carpal tunnel syndrome?
- Sugary breakfast cereals
- White bread
- White flour
- Regular pasta
- White rice
- Ice cream
- Fried food
- Salty food
Q. What are some effective home remedies for mild carpal tunnel syndrome?
- Avoid continuous work and repetitive use of
- Wear a wrist splint
- Drink plenty of water
- Rest the affected hand
- Take over the counter pain medication
- Use warm and cold compresses on the affected hand
If home remedies are not helpful in treating CTS, you should consider meeting an orthopedic specialist doctor.
Q. What is the first mode of treatment for Carpal tunnel syndrome?
A. Mild carpal tunnel syndrome typically responds well to conservative treatments such as:
- Wrist splinting to keep the wrist straight
- Ice or cold compress to reduce swelling
- Over the counter medication for pain and inflammation
- Corticosteroid injections to reduce inflammation and pain
- Stretching exercises and physiotherapy
Surgery for CTS is recommended when patients are unable to find relief from several non-sugical treatment options. Carpal tunnel release surgery is an outpatient procedure done under anesthesia.
Q. What is Endoscopic Carpal Tunnel Release Surgery?
A. Endoscopic carpal tunnel release surgery is a less invasive endoscopic surgery. During the surgery, the orthopedic surgeon inserts an endoscope (a thin tube with a camera attached) through a tiny incision in the palm.
Q. What is Open Carpal Tunnel Release Surgery?
A. Open carpal tunnel release surgery is the traditional method involving an incision (around 2 inches from the wrist to the palm) to the wrist and can be performed under local or general anesthesia.
Q. What are the common signs of complications after carpal tunnel surgery?
A. Complications after CTS surgery generally do not occur. However, as with any surgery, there are always some risks involved. Patients should educate themselves regarding the risks and complications of the procedure to become fully aware. Common complications after occur after CTS surgery are:
- Bleeding at the site of the incision
- Infection around the incision or stitches
- Injuries to the nearby muscles or blood vessels
- Injury to the median nerve or nearby nerves
You should call your doctor right away if you notice any complications after your carpal tunnel surgery.
Q. What is the average cost of Endoscopic Carpal Tunnel Release Surgery?
A. The average cost of Endoscopic Carpal Tunnel Release Surgery is Rs 40,000 to 60,000.
Q. Is carpal tunnel surgery covered by medical insurance in India?
A. Yes. Carpal tunnel syndrome is a medical condition that can highly affect lifestyle, health, and quality of life. Most health insurance providers and plans cover the cost of carpal tunnel release surgery.
Q. Can carpal tunnel syndrome come back again after surgery?
A. Carpal tunnel release surgery is very successful and most patients find relief from symptoms. However, due to lifestyle or other factors, some patients might develop CTS again after surgery. The recurrence rate of carpal tunnel syndrome after surgery is less than 5%.
Q. What is the risk of delaying carpal tunnel surgery?
A. Delaying carpal tunnel surgery can worsen the condition, increase complications and might also affect the success rate and outcomes of the treatment. Undergoing surgery in time can increase your chances of restoring maximum hand functioning as it was before the condition developed.