Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Infographic

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

The carpal tunnel is the narrow canal on the palmar side of your hand, bounded by two bones of the wrist. The narrowing of this canal results in the medial nerve becoming trapped, which may lead to carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS).

Risk Factors

  • Pregnancy
  • Menopause
  • Broken bones
  • Bone spurs
  • Diabetes
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Playing an instrument
  • Playing video games
  • Computer work
  • Construction work

Tips on Avoiding CTS

Increases Risk:

  • Alcohol consumption
  • Cigarettes
  • Eating meat
  • High salt intake
  • Obesity
  • Sedentary lifestyle

Decreases Risk:

  • Drinking more water
  • Quitting smoking
  • Eating more vegetables
  • Home cooking
  • Having a healthy BMI
  • Exercising more

Symptoms

Symptoms often start off mildly before increasing in intensity. They can begin to worsen during the night.

Symptoms include:

  • Tingling/pins and needles (paraesthesia)
  • Thumb weakness/difficulty gripping
  • Dull ache in the hand or arm
  • Dry skin and swelling
  • Changes in skin colour
  • Muscle atrophy at the thumb base

Wrist Techniques

  1. Rest the fingers, hand, and wrist when possible
  2. Keep wrists straight or only slightly bent
  3. When working at a computer ensure that the mouse and keyboard are positioned comfortably

Surgery

  • 49% cured
  • 38% better
  • 6% no changer
  • 7% worse

Surgery can be an option for treating CTS. Some people find their condition cured, while others see no change, or even a worsening of symptoms.

Wrist Splints

Some people prefer to wear a wrist splint. An average of 46% of patients with various neurophysiological grade conditions felt an improvement over a year.

  • Grade 1: 48%
  • Grade 2: 50%
  • Grade 3: 50%
  • Grade 4: 48%
  • Grade 5: 43%
  • Grade 6: 37%

Types of Splints

Resting: Resting Splints can be worn at night. This protects the wrist during sleep and prevents it from bending to the side.

Working: Working splints can be worn while performing daily activities. These splints keep the  wrist bent back slightly to help hold the joint in a neutral position.

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