Orthopaedic Surgical Associates, LLC
Jimmy M Tamai, MD
Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeon located in Fairbanks, AK
If you regularly experience hand or wrist pain as a result of repetitive motions such as typing or using hand tools, you might have carpal tunnel. At Orthopaedic Surgical Associates, LLC in Fairbanks, Alaska, board-certified orthopedic surgeon Jimmy Tamai, MD, works with men and women to diagnose and treat carpal tunnel using safe, effective, and minimally invasive treatments. To schedule your carpal tunnel appointment, call the office or book online today.
Carpal Tunnel Q & A
What is carpal tunnel?
Carpal tunnel, also known as carpal tunnel syndrome, is a painful condition that causes numbness, tingling, and weakness in the arms, hands, and wrists. It occurs when your median nerve, one of the primary nerves in your hand, becomes compressed or squeezed as it travels through your wrist.
The symptoms of carpal tunnel usually get worse over time, so it’s important to seek treatment as soon as possible. Early intervention can slow the condition’s progression and improve your quality of life.
What are the symptoms of carpal tunnel?
Common symptoms of carpal tunnel include:
- Burning pain
- Shock-like sensations
- Hand or wrist weakness
- Difficulty performing routine tasks
As your carpal tunnel gets worse, you might also find yourself dropping objects, such as silverware, hand tools, or writing utensils.
What causes carpal tunnel?
Most cases of carpal tunnel occur as a result of several factors. For example, women are more likely to experience carpal tunnel, as are older individuals. Other risk factors for carpal tunnel include:
- Having a family history of carpal tunnel
- Performing repetitive hand motions such as typing or gripping
- Activities that cause you to flex or twist your wrist
- Being pregnant
Chronic conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, and thyroid gland imbalance can also increase your risk of carpal tunnel.
How is carpal tunnel diagnosed?
To diagnose carpal tunnel, Dr. Tamai reviews your medical history and asks you questions about the symptoms you’re experiencing. He also conducts a thorough physical exam of your hands, fingers, and wrists. During this exam, Dr. Tamai:
- Presses down on your median nerve
- Bends and holds your wrists in a flexed position
- Tests the sensitivity in your fingertips
- Checks your muscle strength
He also looks for atrophy or muscle deterioration at the base of your thumbs and fingers.
How is carpal tunnel treated?
Treatment of carpal tunnel depends on the severity of your symptoms, but Dr. Tamai usually recommends conservative nonsurgical therapies. If you have mild or moderate carpal tunnel, you might benefit from bracing, splints, corticosteroid injections, or hyaluronic acid injections.
If your hand and wrist pain gets worse or negatively affects your quality of life, surgical intervention may be necessary. During carpal tunnel surgery, Dr. Tamai cuts the transverse carpal ligament, relieving pressure on your median nerve.
To learn more about your treatment options for carpal tunnel, schedule an appointment with Dr. Tamai at Orthopaedic Surgical Associates, LLC, today by calling the office, or clicking the online booking tool.