Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Plymouth Orthopaedic and Sports Injury Clinic

What is it?

Pressure on the median nerve at the wrist resulting in reduced nerve function

Symptoms

Pins and needles and numbness, usually worse on the thumb - side of the hand and often worse at night. There may be associated pain in the hand and arm. The hand may feel weak and clumsy and you may drop things

What causes it?

In most cases, carpal tunnel syndrome occurs spontaneously without an underlying cause. In a few cases, it occurs as a result of other conditions (inflammatory arthritis, hormonal disorders, pregnancy, wrist fractures)

Treatment

Splints - may be helpful for night-time symptoms
Steroid injection - may relieve symptoms but the benefit is often incomplete or temporary
Surgery - Carpal tunnel release. A minor operation under local anaesthetic which takes approximately 15 mins. A small cut is made at the base of the palm and the nerve is released. Stitches are removed after 7-14 days. Average time off work is 3 weeks.