08:41 AM

Carpal Tunnel Can Happen Even Without A Desk Job

The Palm Beach Post’s “Ask the Expert” column features Michelle G. Carlson, MD, hand and upper extremity surgeon at HSS, discussing the causes and treatment of carpal tunnel.

Dr. Carlson explained while carpal tunnel is a natural part of aging, certain gripping activities (e.g., working in the garden, playing the piano repeatedly, etc.), can increase the risk. Activities involving wrist flexion (e.g., driving a car, reading a newspaper, etc.), also increases symptoms.

Wrist splints help at night and during symptom causing activities, as they align the bones that form that ‘C’ into the biggest possible arc, providing room for the nerve and tendons. Rest also decreases swelling around the tendons.

Dr. Carlson advised to see a specialist if symptoms don’t resolve in two weeks to evaluate the condition and rule out other causes. Oftentimes a cortisone injection provides temporary relief, and occasionally nerve tests are ordered if the diagnosis is in question. Carpal tunnel can be cured by a small surgical solution under local anesthesia to open the ligament forming the top of the tunnel.

This article appeared in the print edition on January 17, 2021.