Carpal Tunnel Specialist

Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Center

Orthopedic Surgeons & Sports Medicine Specialists located in St. Joseph, MO

The carpal tunnel is a passageway for the median nerve as it travels through your wrist and into your hand. The narrow passageway may compress or irritate the nerve, causing tingling, numbness, or weakness in the hand or arm. This condition is known as carpal tunnel syndrome. If you have symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome, schedule a consultation with Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Center in St. Joseph, Missouri. The team provides nonsurgical and surgical options to ease your discomfort and prevent nerve damage. Call the office or book an appointment online today.

Carpal Tunnel Q&A

What is the carpal tunnel?

The carpal tunnel is a narrow opening in your wrist. The passageway is made up of wrist bones that form the bottom and side and the transverse carpal ligament that forms the top of the tunnel. This rigid structure limits stretching or widening of the passageway.

Your median nerve passes through the carpal tunnel into your hand, providing feeling in your thumb, index, middle, and ring fingers and muscle movement at the base of your thumb.

Any narrowing of the carpal tunnel or swelling of the surrounding tissues may compress or irritate the median nerve, resulting in carpal tunnel syndrome. 

What are the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome?

Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome develop gradually. Initially, you may experience pins and needles or numbness in your hand when you first wake up in the morning that quickly goes away with a few flicks of the wrist. 

Over time, you may notice your symptoms last longer and occur more often. You may also experience weakness in your hand, making it hard for you to turn a door handle. Many patients also complain of swelling in the hand and pain that resembles wrist arthritis.

Getting a diagnosis and treatment plan during the early stages of carpal tunnel syndrome may prevent a worsening of your symptoms. Left untreated, carpal tunnel syndrome may lead to permanent nerve damage. 

What happens during a carpal tunnel evaluation?

The Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Center team specializes in diagnosing and treating carpal tunnel syndrome. During your visit, your provider reviews your symptoms, medical history, and family history. 

They examine your wrist and perform electrophysiological tests to assess nerve function. Testing might include electromyography (EMG), which assesses muscle health and the nerve cells that control those muscles.

How is carpal tunnel syndrome treated?

Treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome depends on the severity of your symptoms. During the early stages, the team at Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Center recommends nonsurgical treatment such as:

  • Bracing or splinting
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Activity modification
  • Physical therapy
  • Steroid injections

When nonsurgical treatments fail to ease carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms, the team at Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Center recommends carpal tunnel surgery. 

During this procedure, your orthopedic surgeon uses minimally invasive techniques to divide the transverse carpal ligament, creating more room for the median nerve. 

Most patients feel improvements in their symptoms almost immediately and return to their usual activities within a week. 

Find out more about your carpal tunnel treatment options by calling Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Center, or book an appointment online today.