7 Reasons You May Be At Risk For Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Did you know that carpal tunnel syndrome could be the most common nerve disorder experienced today? It affects 4-10 million Americans and according to the National Institute of Health, women are three times more likely than men to develop the condition. As far as that old theory that typing on a keyboard causes the nerve disorder? It’s a myth. In fact, only about 10% of those who regularly use a keyboard or mouse repetitively for work complain of symptoms, and most of them don’t even actually have the condition. Clearly, there is still a lot to learn about carpal tunnel syndrome and what causes it.

At the Fitzmaurice Hand Institute, we are passionate about providing the best care possible for patients with carpal tunnel syndrome. Dr. Michael Fitzmaurice, a leader in minimally invasive hand surgery in Scottsdale, Arizona, has performed thousands of procedures and is actively involved in research pertaining to the many aspects of surgical operations on hands. He has also pioneered several new techniques and procedures that improve visualization, reduce surgical impact, and lead to optimal results with a rapid return to normal life.

What Are The Causes And Risk Factors For Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Aside from women getting carpal tunnel syndrome three times more often than men, there are several other factors that could put you at risk for developing the condition:

  • You Have A Small Carpal Tunnel – your carpal tunnel is the space in your wrist where the median nerve passes through. Those with narrower wrists and smaller carpal tunnels make it easier to put pressure on the median nerve. This trait can be hereditary.
  • You Are Above 30 Years Of Age – carpal tunnel syndrome is rarely diagnosed before age 30. 76% of patients show symptoms between the ages of 40 and 70.
  • Your Hands Are Frequently Exposed To Cold Temperatures Or Vibrations – wet or cold weather, especially during the winter season, can exacerbate carpal tunnel syndrome (similar to how cold weather aggravates joint pain). Cold temperatures could restrict blood flow or cause muscle tissue to expand, putting added pressure on the median nerve. Vibrations, on the other hand, can cause the tissue to swell which can result in carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms to flare up.
  • You Perform Repetitive Hand Motions At Work – some jobs will require you to repeat the same hand and wrist motions over a prolonged period which can aggravate the tendons in your wrist and put pressure on the nerve. Pianists, violinists, golfers, tennis players, drivers, meat cutters, carpenters, mechanics, machinists, chefs, construction workers, massage therapists, and landscapers are most likely to develop carpal tunnel syndrome.
  • You Have Other Health Conditions – diabetes, hypothyroidism, an overactive pituitary gland, rheumatoid arthritis, or other neurological disorders are associated with carpal tunnel syndrome.
  • You Have a Wrist Injury – sprains and fractures which cause swelling can result in carpal tunnel syndrome.
  • You Are Pregnant – hormonal changes and increased fluid retention may put additional pressure on the nerve in your wrist.

How Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Is Treated

If carpal tunnel syndrome is diagnosed early, non-surgical methods may help alleviate its symptoms. Treatments include:

  • Wrist splinting
  • Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Corticosteroid injections
  • Physical therapy

These conservative treatments are only effective for conditions with mild symptoms. As the compression becomes more persistent and severe, these non-surgical treatments become less effective. Research also shows that prolonged nerve compression increases the risk of permanent nerve damage. This is why earlier surgical intervention is often recommended. 

It is the goal of surgery to release the ligament that is placing pressure on the median nerve. And while the traditional surgical treatment involves the open approach which uses a large incision, an endoscopic approach allows the surgeon to cut the ligament tissue through a minimal incision, significantly improving recovery time and overall patient outcome.

EndoTech® Carpal Tunnel Surgery

Double board-certified, fellowship-trained hand surgeon Dr. Fitzmaurice, has developed the patent-pending EndoTech® nerve release system –the safest and most advanced, minimally invasive system for treating nerve compression syndromes. This innovative system combines the benefits of an open technique (e.g., excellent visualization) with the remarkable improvement in pain and recovery associated with endoscopic techniques. Because of complete visualization that allows the surgeon to see all structures (tendons, nerves, etc.), EndoTech® nerve release ensures that a complete release can be performed in the safest and quickest way possible. In addition to visibility, the system only requires small incisions (less than 1 cm) which means higher patient safety, less pain, and faster recovery time. 

During the procedure, an endoscope (a thin, flexible tube with a tiny light and camera attached to one end) is guided through a small incision in your wrist or palm. Tiny cutting tools will also be inserted via the same incision or through another small one. The transverse carpal ligament will then be cut, which will release the pressure from the median nerve. Finally, the small incision/s will be closed. The healing process after EndoTech® nerve release is faster than an open carpal tunnel surgery. Any chance of recurrent symptoms requiring a second surgery is also significantly reduced. Patients can move their wrists immediately and can return to work within a week.

Schedule A Carpal Tunnel Appointment
Home of the EndoTech® Release Surgery, The Fitzmaurice Hand Institute and its team of specialists are dedicated to providing the safest and most effective minimally invasive treatment option for carpal tunnel syndrome. If you’d like to learn more about carpal tunnel syndrome or our revolutionary hand and wrist surgery option, schedule a consultation by calling our Scottsdale office at (480) 719-4750 today.

Fitzmaurice Hand Institute
8841 E Bell Rd #201
Scottsdale, AZ 85260