Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Causes of Wrist Pain
Dr. Haselkorn
Ms. Bergman
Ask the Doctor

Repetitive Strain Injuries

Volar Carpal Ligament

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Causes of Wrist Pain > Radius & Ulna Fractures
Causes of Wrist Pain > Scaphoid Bone Fractures
Causes of Wrist Pain > Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Causes of Wrist Pain > DeQuervain’s Disease
Causes of Wrist Pain > Arthritis

The second category of wrist pain problems is chronic. Chronic wrist pain is often the result of repetitive strain or movement injuries. Repetitive movement injuries have become much more in the public consciousness because of their association with work injuries. Among the repetitive movement injuries which affect the wrist are Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and DeQuervain’s Disease.

The carpal canal is a closed space located within the mid-area of the palm side of the wrist (see illustrations at left). It is covered by a thick ligament known as the volar carpal ligament. Inside the tunnel-like enclosed space courses the median nerve and the flexor tendons. It is theorized that because this is a closed space, as pressure builds up with repetitive movements, problems occur and pain is an inevitable result.

Certain kinds of repetitive movements have become associated with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. One of the most common is typing on a keyboard. Other examples of repetitive movements which have caused wrist problems include assembly line work, where the same motion is repeated over and over throughout the work week, and weekend activities, such as the simple act of hitting a tennis ball repeatedly. What happens is that the linings of the carpal tunnel become irritated and swollen, and the median nerve is affected by the pressure. The patient will feel a numbness and tingling in the areas that are supplied by the median nerve, which runs through the thumb, the index and middle fingers, and through half of the fourth finger on the thumb side. Someone who feels this kind of numbness or tingling sensations may also experience a weak grip and a loss of fine movements.

If you are experiencing persistent numbness or tingling, it is recommended that you be examined by a physician. If these kinds of problems are allowed to persist long enough, permanent nerve damage will result. Once the median nerve is severely injured, not even surgery will lead to a complete recovery, and the longer you wait, the greater the risk of permanent residual effects.

Alexander Haselkorn, M.D., P.A.
Hand Surgery • Occupational Medicine • General & Traumatic Surgery
750 Broadway (Corner of E. 33rd St. & Broadway)
Paterson, New Jersey 07514

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