People who use their hands repetitively can develop carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS). Many tasks at work are repetitive and even hobbies like knitting, sewing, crafts, woodworking or playing computer games can result in CTS.
As a hand specialist, I doubt a day has gone by without at least one person with this condition making up my clinic schedule. This common condition can cause pain, numbness, burning and tingling and sometimes progresses to hand weakness and muscle atrophy. CTS results from compression of the median nerve at the level of the wrist bones (carpal bones). This nerve controls 80% of the sensation and 20% of the small hand muscles. At first CTS symptoms of numbness and tingling might awaken one from sleep or occur with use. Symptoms progress over time to more consistent episodes of pain and even hand weakness.
Images from AAOS fact sheet.
Women are more likely to develop CTS, especially during pregnancy. CTS is sometimes associated with certain medical conditions including diabetes, thyroid problems, arthritis and kidney insufficiency. An evaluation by a specialist and blood work may be needed. The nerves to the hand can also be pinched at other levels, including neck, shoulder and forearm, resulting in symptoms similar to CTS.
Please don’t assume a “little numbness”, especially if present for more than a few weeks is normal. Seek attention for your symptoms. Seek a specialist for evaluation. Further information is available on my website and if you are aware of persistent symptoms contact Dr. Balorudas.
Greg Balourdas, MD – TheHandDoctor.com