Everything You Need to Know About Diagnosing and Treating Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is a non-injury related condition that affects the wrist, hand, and fingers.  The most common symptoms are:

  • Tingling
  • Numbness
  • Shooting pain

Should you be experiencing any of these, numerous effective treatment options are available.

Before diving into them, it’s important to go over some anatomy.

CTS Related Anatomy

On its way to the fingers, the median nerve runs under the carpal ligament. When the gap (referred to as the carpal tunnel) between the ligament and nerve narrows, the nerve is compressed and the above-mentioned symptoms occur.

Illustration 1– A compressed median nerve

Numerous Treatment Options Are Available

 The goal of treatment is to decompress the nerve and reduce irritation.

Non-surgical treatment is always tried first. The most common options are:

  1. Wrist immobilization decompresses the nerve, decreases irritation, and relieves symptoms.
  1. A break in job or leisure activities that cause symptom flare-ups can slow or stop the progression of CTS.
  1. Steroid injections. Immediate symptom relief can occur following steroid injections. Injections spaced out over periods of three or more months can greatly reduce or even stop symptoms.

When non-surgical options aren’t effective, surgical intervention might be necessary.

A carpal tunnel release (CTR) is a procedure that uses a small incision to view and then trim or resect the carpal ligament which, in turn, decompresses the nerve. The procedure is short—usually between 15-30 minutes—and patients are allowed to go home a few hours after. Symptom relief can occur in as little as 2-3 days and last indefinitely.

Orthopedic Specialists Treat CTS

An orthopedic specialist is the best and most qualified medical professional to treat CTS. Their training and experience allow them to diagnose the condition and come up with an effective treatment plan. The symptoms of CTS can and will be reduced or eliminated when the condition is treated by an orthopedic specialist.  

At Total Orthopedics and Sports Medicine, our Hand Team is led by awarded and Board certified Hand Surgeon, Dr. Elizabeth Morrison.  Dr. Morrison is an expert in CTS and other hand and wrist related conditions.  Her treatment philosophy uses each patient’s unique condition, goals and lifestyles to create a specialized treatment plan.  Contact one of our five Long Island offices today to schedule an appointment!