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Does Your Thumb Hurt With Carpal Tunnel

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Incision Pain And Pillar Pain

Pain in the area of the incision is especially common after traditional open surgery, rather than endoscopic carpal tunnel release. There two types of pain that occur in the palm of the hand after carpal tunnel surgery: incisional pain and pillar pain.

Incisional pain occurs directly at the site of the incision. Pain directly at the incision is typically only present for days or weeks after the surgery. Protecting the incision can help alleviate pain, and it’s important to avoid lifting or gripping for several weeks after carpal tunnel surgery.

Pillar pain is the pain experienced to the sides of the incision in the thicker parts of the palm, called the thenar and hypothenar eminence. Pain in these regions is where the attachments of the transverse ligament to the carpal bones are located.

In addition, the muscles of the palm of the hand are located here. Pillar pain is the more common and troublesome complication of carpal tunnel surgery and may take several months to resolve.

Treatments for pillar pain may include rest, massage, and hand therapy. Additional surgery is generally ineffective for treatment of pillar pain.

Is My Hand And Wrist Pain Caused By Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Or Something Else

See Diagnosing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Keep in mind that carpal tunnel syndrome is much more common than many of these conditions. For example, the estimated prevalence for carpal tunnel syndrome among manual labor workers may be as high as 20%, while prevalence for Reynauds syndrome is estimated to be about 5% in the general population.

Persistent Numbness And Tingling

There are two reasons why people have persistent symptoms of numbness and tingling after carpal tunnel surgery. One reason is the transverse carpal ligament is not completely released. The second reason is if there is long-standing compression to the median nerve in the carpal tunnel.

Incomplete release of the transverse carpal ligament can lead to persistent compression on the median nerve, and therefore persistent symptoms. This complication is more common with endoscopic carpal tunnel surgery.

Some people who have long-standing carpal tunnel syndrome may have persistent numbness and tingling even after carpal tunnel release surgery. This is thought to be the result of long-standing compression and therefore more significant nerve damage. In fact, some people have nerve damage so severe that sensation is never restored to normal.

A nerve test called an electromyography study can help give an indication of the severity of the nerve compression prior to surgery.

Symptoms Of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

The two classic symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome are pain, numbness, and/or tingling that:

    Other symptoms of carpal tunnel include pain, numbness, and tingling that:

    • Feels better if you change your hands position or shake or wring your hands
    • May extend up your forearm
    • Develops or gets worse when you flex your wrist 90° for 1 minute or longer

    Read more about Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Symptoms on

    What causes carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms The pain and other symptoms of carpal tunnel occur when the median nerve is inflamed or irritated. The median nerve controls the sensation in your thumb, index finger, and middle finger. It travels through a narrow space at the center of the wrist called the carpal tunnel. If the tendons that also run through the carpal tunnel become inflamed, carpal tunnel syndrome can develop.

    Other less common conditions can cause chronic numbness and tingling in the hands, including but not limited to cervical spine disorders, such as cervical radiculopathy.

    Read more about Cervical Radiculopathy on

    Questions To Ask Your Doctor

    Do I Have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

    • How do you know that carpal tunnel syndrome is causing my symptoms?
    • What can I do to relieve my pain?
    • Are there any special exercises I can do to strengthen my hand and wrist?
    • What is the best treatment option? Will I need surgery?
    • How long will it take to recover?
    • Is it likely that Ill experience this problem again, either in this hand/arm or in my other hand/arm?

    What Causes Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

    CTS happens when the carpal tunnel inside your wrist swells and squeezes 1 of your nerves .

    You’re more at risk if you:

    • are overweight
    • are pregnant
    • do work or hobbies that mean you repeatedly bend your wrist or grip hard, such as using vibrating tools
    • have another illness, such as arthritis or diabetes
    • have a parent, brother or sister with CTS
    • have previously injured your wrist

    Page last reviewed: 16 February 2021 Next review due: 16 February 2024

    Symptoms Of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: What It Feels Like

    This nerve gives you feeling in your thumb and all your fingers except your pinky, index finger, primarily your thumb loses muscle strength, This can occur from trauma to the nerve, the thumb, the nerve pain that affects the thumb and fingers can be from carpal tunnel too but i Read More 2 doctors agreeDo you have tingling or numbness in your hand or fingers? It could be a sign that you have carpal tunnel syndrome, middle finger, index and middle finger, and first finger, this could be a sign of tendon strain or tendonitis, And thats how you can get rid ofThe main symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome are pain, You may find that

    Recurrent Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

    It is possible to have recurrent symptoms after carpal tunnel surgery. The likelihood of this complication is estimated to be about 10 to 15%.

    Unfortunately, even if this problem is addressed with another surgical procedure, the results of a second surgery tend to be not as favorable as the results of initial surgery.

    How Is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Treated

    Carpal tunnel syndrome can be treated in two ways: non-surgically or with surgery. There are pros and cons to both approaches. Typically, non-surgical treatments are used for less severe cases and allow you to continue with daily activities without interruption. Surgical treatments can help in more severe cases and have very positive outcomes.

    Non-surgical treatments

    Non-surgical treatments are usually tried first. Treatment begins by:

    • Wearing a wrist splint at night.
    • Taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen.

    Other treatments focus on ways to change your environment to decrease symptoms. This is often seen in the workplace, where you can make modifications to help with carpal tunnel. These changes might include:

    • Raising or lowering your chair.
    • Moving your computer keyboard.
    • Changing your hand/wrist position while doing activities.
    • Using recommended splints, exercises and heat treatments from a hand therapist.

    Surgical treatments

    Surgery is recommended when carpal tunnel syndrome does not respond to non-surgical treatments or has already become severe. The goal of surgery is to increase the size of the tunnel in order to decrease the pressure on the nerves and tendons that pass through the space. This is done by cutting the ligament that covers the carpal tunnel at the base of the palm. This ligament is called the transverse carpal ligament.

    If you have surgery, you can expect to:

    Is My Hand Pain Caused By Arthritis Or Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

    Before you can treat your hand pain, you need to know whats causing it. Two of the most common causes of hand pain are arthritis and carpal tunnel syndrome. How can you tell if you have oneor bothof these conditions?

    Carpal tunnel syndrome is one of several conditions that either results from or shares symptoms with inflammatory arthritis.Conditions Related to Inflammatory Arthritis

    Both arthritis and carpal tunnel syndrome can affect your ability to do everyday activities, such as getting dressed, driving, and using your phone and TV remote. Both can be triggered by activity or repetitive motion. To distinguish between the two conditions, doctors look for certain signs and symptoms.

    Numbness & Tingling After Carpal Tunnel Surgery

    If the surgery was successful, thepainyou felt as asymptom of carpal tunnel syndromewill diminish. But numbness or tingling may persist. This is usually due to one of two reasons. 

    • First, the surgeon did not fully cut the ligament. That means themedian nerveis still compressed. This happens mostly withendoscopic surgery. 
    • Second, other tissues are pushing on the nerve, so cutting the ligament didnt matter. This can be a bigger problem, leading to nerve damage. That means numbness or tingling will never completely disappear.

    Is It Carpal Tunnel Or Is It Arthritis

    October 6, 2017

    If you are having pain in one or both hands, you may be wondering if carpal tunnel syndrome or arthritis are causing you pain. While both conditions can cause pain, there are several key differences between the two. Carpal tunnel syndrome can cause weakness, tingling, or numbness in the hand. Arthritis can also cause pain and make it difficult to grasp things, but for completely different reasons. Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by nerve compression and arthritis is caused by inflammation and damage to the joint.

    If You Have Wrist Pain You Might Wonder Which Could Be The Culprit Heres What You Need To Know

    What is Carpal Tunnel

    Youve been experiencing pain in your wrists. At first you might chalk it up sleeping funny, or an overuse injury from your yoga class. But if the pain endures, and depending on the specific mix of your symptoms, you may be wondering whether it could it be carpal tunnel, a form of arthritis, or something else.

    For some people, however, its often not an either-or situation. Having arthritis raises your risk of developing carpal tunnel, so you could have both conditions at the same time.

    In this article, well explain why arthritis may be a cause of carpal tunnel and share information about carpal tunnel symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment.

    Be Your Own Best Healer

    What you do on your own, not just in therapy sessions, is also an important part of your recovery, and nutrition, including supplementation, can play a big role in success. Robert E. Markison, MD, a hand surgeon and clinical professor of surgery at the University of California, San Francisco, often recommends these nutrients to his patients

    These ergonomic pointers can help, too

    • As much as possible, use a voice-recognition program, not a keyboard or touch screen, for computer work. For texting, use voice-to-text, not your thumbs.
    • When you must type at your computer, use a . It allows you to adjust the keyboard to fit your body, rather than having to contort yourself to a molded plastic keyboard. Also, use a light touchdont pound on the keyboard.
    • If you use a mouse, alternate it between your left and right hands to balance out the workload.
    • Sit tall and avoid a forward-head posture. Relax your shoulders and keep your arms near your torso.
    • Keep your hands warm to improve circulation, important for avoiding RSI.

    A note about pain relief medication: Discuss options with your care providers before taking anything so that you dont mask symptoms and jump back into activities before youve truly healed.

    Can Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Be Prevented Or Avoided

    You can take steps to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome. The following actions may help to prevent it:

    • Lose weight if youre overweight.
    • Get treatment for any disease you have that may cause carpal tunnel syndrome.
    • If you do the same tasks over and over with your hands, try not to bend, extend, or twist your hands for long periods of time.
    • Dont work with your arms too close or too far from your body.
    • Dont rest your wrists on hard surfaces for long periods of time.
    • Switch hands during work tasks.
    • Make sure the tools you use arent too big for your hands.
    • Take regular breaks from repeated hand movements to give your hands and wrists time to rest.
    • If you use a keyboard a lot, adjust the height of your chair so that your forearms are level with your keyboard, and you dont have to flex your wrists to type.

    Many products you can buy, such as wrist rests for a computer keyboard, are supposed to ease symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. No one has proven that these products really prevent wrist problems. Some people may have less pain and numbness after using these products, but other people may have increased pain and numbness.

    Hand And Wrist Pain From Nerve Problems

    Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by impingement of the median nerve, but damage or impingement of other nerves can also cause symptoms in the hand.

    Cervical radiculopathySeveral nerve roots that originate in the cervical spineparticularly C6 and C7innervate the hand and fingers. If they become impinged from a degenerated or herniated disc, stenosis, or cervical osteoarthritis, the resulting pain and numbness can be very similar to carpal tunnel syndrome.

    See Is My Shoulder Pain Caused by a Neck Injury?

    Cubital tunnel syndromeThe ulnar nerve passes over the outside of the elbow, runs down the arm, and into the outside of the hand; this is the nerve that causes a funny bone reaction when it is struck at the elbow.

    Repeated use or pressure on the elbow can cause inflammation that affects this nerve, which can cause symptoms of pain and tingling in the hand, similar to carpal tunnel syndrome. However, carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms occur in the thumb, index, and middle fingers, whereas ulnar nerve symptoms typically affect the ring and pinky fingers.

    Where Carpal Tunnel Pain Hurts The Most

    Exactly where carpal tunnel pain hurts the most varies from person to person. That’s because everybody experiencessymptoms of carpal tunnel syndromea little differently. 

    In general, pain is usually themajorsymptom, followed by numbness and tingling . The pain can be on any finger except the little finger. It can also include the entire palm of the hand and even the wrist. Sometimes pain shoots from the fingers, through the hand and up the arm.

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    Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Surgery

    If your CTS is getting worse and other treatments have not worked, the GP might refer you to a specialist to discuss surgery.

    Surgery usually cures CTS. You and your specialist will decide together if it’s the right treatment for you.

    An injection numbs your wrist so you do not feel pain and a small cut is made in your hand. The carpal tunnel inside your wrist is cut so it no longer puts pressure on the nerve.

    The operation takes around 20 minutes and you do not have to stay in hospital overnight.

    It can take a month after the operation to get back to normal activities.

    Pain And Tenderness After Carpaltunnel Surgery

    • Normal scar tenderness with anxiety / awareness.
    • Normal scar adhesions to the perineural tissues. This may resultin a sudden, brief electrical paresthesia, typically shooting from thepalm out the middle finger tip. It may occur while reaching, gripping,or at rest. It may be alarming, but does not necessarily mean that thereis a technical problem with the surgery or with the healing process. Adhesionsby themselves would not explain constant pain.
    • Pillar pain (tenderness adjacent to the actual ligamentrelease, where the prominences of the trapezial ridge and the hook of thehamate are closest to the skin. The transverse retinacular ligament, dividedduring carpal tunnel release, attaches to these structures, and the inflammatoryreaction of normal wound healing is most obvious at these points, oftenmore than the central area of the actual release.
    • Aggravation of preexisting asymptomatic basal joint, pisotriquetral ortriquetrohamate arthritis due to altered isometric stresses on thesejoints.
    • Reinnervation hypersensitivity – most often occurs if there wasconstant tingling, numbness or altered sensibility before surgery.
    • Reflex sympathetic dystrophy.
    • Coexisting neruritis from cervical radiculopathy, pronator syndrome,diabetic or other peripheral neuropathy.
    • Direct nerve irritation of one of the palmar cutaneous sensory branchesto the palm or of the median nerve itself.

    What You Need To Know

    • Carpal tunnel release is one of the most common hand conditions requiring surgery.
    • Symptoms may include tingling, pain, numbness or weakness in the thumb through ring fingers of the affected hand.
    • Women get carpal tunnel syndrome three times more often than men.
    • Carpal tunnel syndrome is a progressive condition that can worsen without proper care.
    • Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome often occur during pregnancy and can be alleviated with nonsurgical treatments. Symptoms often improve after delivery, but such patients are at higher risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome later in life.

    How Is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Diagnosed

    How to Fix Wrist Pain (Carpal Tunnel Syndrome ...

    First, your doctor will discuss your symptoms, medical history and examine you. Next, tests are performed, which may include:

    • Tinels sign: In this test, the physician taps over the median nerve at the wrist to see if it produces a tingling sensation in the fingers.
    • Wrist flexion test : In this test, the patient rests his or her elbows on a table and allows the wrist to fall forward freely. Individuals with carpal tunnel syndrome will experience numbness and tingling in the fingers within 60 seconds. The more quickly symptoms appear, the more severe the carpal tunnel syndrome.
    • X-rays: X-rays of the wrist may be ordered if there is limited wrist motion, or evidence of arthritis or trauma.
    • Electromyography and nerve conduction studies: These studies determine how well the median nerve itself is working and how well it controls muscle movement.

    What Are The Early Signs

    Typically, the symptoms start out slowly, with burning, numbness, tingling, or pain. You might feel it in your thumb and any of your fingers, but not your pinkie. The strange feeling may also travel up your forearm.

    Often, symptoms start at night. Thatâs because most people sleep with their wrists bent, which causes pressure on the median nerve. You might wake up feeling like you need to shake your hands out.

    As your condition gets worse, you may notice symptoms during the day, as well. This often happens when youâre doing something where your wrist is bent up or down for a long time, like driving a car, reading a newspaper, or holding your phone.

    At first, symptoms tend to come and go. But over time, they occur more often and become worse.

    You might also notice other symptoms:

    • Your fingers feel swollen, even though they donât look like it.
    • Pain and tingling travel up your forearm to your shoulder.
    • âShocksâ come and go in your thumb and fingers.

    Over time, carpal tunnel can also affect your grip and ability to pinch. Here are some things that could be happening:

    • You drop things more often .
    • Youâre having a hard time working with small objects, like the buttons on your shirt.
    • Itâs harder to make a fist than it used to be.

    In more severe cases, you can lose muscle at the base of your thumb. Or you may no longer be able to tell hot from cold just by touch.

    Mayo Clinic Q And A: Recovery After Surgery For Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Whats Normal And Whats Not

    DEAR MAYO CLINIC: Three months ago, I had surgery on my left wrist to treat carpal tunnel syndrome. Since then, I am in much more pain than before surgery, and two of my fingers are completely numb. I cannot even button a button, and tying my shoes is a chore. What would cause the pain to worsen after surgery? Could another surgery remedy the problem, or is this my new normal?

    ANSWER: Your condition as it stands now shouldnt be considered a new normal. Its possible your symptoms are part of the recovery from surgery, and they may improve with time. It would be a good idea, however, to meet with your surgeon now, so he or she can reassess your condition and decide if you need additional tests or treatment.

    Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by compression of the median nerve within the carpal tunnel a narrow passageway on the palm side of your wrist. The median nerve runs from your forearm through the carpal tunnel and into your hand. It controls the sensations you feel on the palm side of your thumb and fingers, except the little finger. Carpal tunnel syndrome often causes numbness and tingling in the hand and arm. Surgery to treat it involves relieving pressure on the median nerve by cutting the ligament that crosses over it.

    Its helpful to note, too, that nerves typically improve after surgery at a rate of about 1 inch per month. When sensation returns, it happens gradually. In general, full recovery after carpal tunnel syndrome may take up to a year.

    What Are The Causes Of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

    Carpal tunnel syndrome is often the result of a combination of factors that increase pressure on the median nerve and tendons in the carpal tunnel, rather than a problem with the nerve itself. Contributing factors include trauma or injury to the wrist that cause swelling, such as sprain or fracture; an overactive pituitary gland; an underactive thyroid gland; and rheumatoid arthritis. Other factors that may contribute to the compression include mechanical problems in the wrist joint, repeated use of vibrating hand tools, fluid retention during pregnancy or menopause, or the development of a cyst or tumor in the canal. Often, no single cause can be identified.

    Examination Of The Wrist

    Your doctor or health professional will ask you to describe your symptoms. They will take a look at your hand and wrist to assess how bad the condition is. If the wrist is swollen due to arthritis or tendon swelling, this could be the cause of your symptoms.

    If youve had the condition for some time, there may be signs of muscle wasting at the base of the thumb. If the problem is severe, your thumb, index and middle fingers may be insensitive or numb to either a gentle touch or a pin prick.

    Your doctor may tap over the median nerve on the palm side of your wrist, this is known as Tinels test. Or they may ask you to bend your palm towards your forearm for up to a minute, which is known as Phalens test.

    Finger Numbness And Finger Pain

    Finger numbness and finger pain are both telltale signs of Repetitive Stress Injury and often are associated with carpal tunnel syndrome . If you are experiencing even temporary finger numbness and or finger pain or numb hands or pain in your hands and extremities, it would be wise to take action to prevent these symptoms from developing into a chronic syndrome. A proactive, full-spectrum approach to treating repetitive strain injury is your best defense against chronic, persistent, potentially debilitating pain.

    It is hard to imagine for most people, that gentle keystrokes on a computer keyboard and subtle finger action on a musical instrument could ever result in serious injury to the hand.However, bear in mind that the numbness and tingling you may be experiencing is likely the combined result of thousands or tens of thousands of delicate, but repeated hand and finger motions.

    The cumulative effective over decades results in wear and tear that creates CTS.

    Chronic RSI sufferers may not respond to traditional treatment methodologies such as ibuprofen, stiff wrist splints, cortisone injections, and Carpal Tunnel Surgery and often experience unwanted side effects and complications. For a repetitive strain related injury the symptoms almost always return, so it is important to identify a natural therapy without downtime or complications to relieve the symptoms non-invasively.

    Where Is This Tunnel

    Take a look at the palm of your hand. Under the skin at your wrist is the tunnel we’re talking about. Nine tendons and one nerve pass through this tunnel from the forearm to the hand. The bottom and sides of the carpal tunnel are formed by wrist bones, and the top of the tunnel is covered by a strong band of connective tissue called a ligament.

    The tendons that run through the tunnel connect muscles to bones and help you use your hand and bend your fingers and thumb. The nerve that passes through the carpal tunnel to reach the hand is the median nerve.

    It’s pretty tight inside the carpal tunnel. In fact, there’s barely enough room for the tendons and the nerve to pass through it. If anything takes up extra room in the canal, the median nerve gets pinched, which causes numbness and tingling in the area of the hand where the nerve spreads out. Swelling can happen when someone does the same thing over and over, like typing. This swelling can pinch the nerve.

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