The chance of developing Carpal tunnel syndrome increases as we age.
The condition occurs when the median nerve – located inside the carpal tunnel in the wrist – is compressed. The result is pain, numbness, tingling and restricted movement in the hand and fingers.
“Carpal tunnel syndrome can cause a wide array of symptoms, and it can be different for different people,” says Dr. Andrew Kirkpatrick, fellowship trained hand surgeon at Orthopedics & Sports Medicine by BayCare Clinic. “A classic symptom people suffer from is numbness and tingling in the hand or wrist.”
The numbness and tingling can wake people from their sleep at night, and the condition can also cause pain to radiate up through the arm and into the shoulders at times, he adds.
According to Dr. Kirkpatrick, anyone can get Carpal tunnel syndrome, but providers see it most commonly in manual laborers, assembly line workers, gardeners, mechanics, musicians, and others who perform repetitive motions with their hands.
“Having Carpal tunnel syndrome can be very difficult for people with regard to quality of life,” Kirkpatrick says. “Many people have trouble sleeping because their hands are burning or tingling or going numb. A lot of people will have difficulty with fine motor skills and dropping objects because of the condition as well.”
Other times, people just experience chronic pain from the condition.
Specialized carpal tunnel treatment in your community
Kirkpatrick is board-certified by the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery and completed fellowship training in hand surgery at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester.
He earned his medical degree from the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee and completed his residency in orthopedic surgery at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha.
He specializes in hand and upper extremity procedures and regularly treats carpal tunnel syndrome as well as arthritis, wrist pain, tendon and ligament injuries, trigger finger, nerve disorders, fractures, dislocations, tingling and numbness, congenital abnormalities, elbow conditions and emergency or long-term hand related conditions and injuries.
There are several treatment options available for Carpal tunnel syndrome, Kirkpatrick says.
In the beginning, or if symptoms are mild, conservative treatments including bracing or using cortisone injections may help.
“Typically, Carpal tunnel syndrome is solved by a surgical procedure,” he says.
There are different surgical options, but they all tend to be easy for people to undergo, he says.
“The way I do carpal tunnel surgery is outpatient, people don’t have to spend any time in the hospital, and most can return to normal activity and even manual labor after a few weeks,” Kirkpatrick says.
Learn more about how Dr. Kirkpatrick can help with symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.