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Painful Wrist and Compressed Nerves

Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a condition caused by compression of the median nerve, one of several nerves that control functions of the hand, as it passes through the wrist.

The carpal tunnel is a narrow passage in the wrist composed of bones and ligaments that when damaged may potentially compress the structures passing through it, for example the median nerve. Compression of the median nerve is manifested by a painful sensation in wrist that may radiate to the upper arm.

Doctors diagnose this illness from the history of numbness, tingling and pain in the hand. During the course of the physical examination, CTS can be confirmed if a positive Phalen's or Tinel's sign is elicited by the doctor. Phalen's sign refers to the presence of numbness when the wrist is held in a flexed, or downward, position. Tinel's sign is a shock-like sensation produced by tapping over the median nerve at the wrist.

For mild to moderate cases of CTS, treatment usually consists of oral or topical pain medication, lifestyle changes including altering the patterns of hand use, wearing splints while sleeping, cold compresses, physical therapy and cortisone injections. If these measures do not work, particularly in serious cases, surgery may be a viable solution. Carpal tunnel syndrome surgery involves cutting the ligament that forms over the median nerve to release/decrease the pressure. The hand may take at least several weeks to heal completely after surgery and will need to undergo physical therapy. It may take several months for the hand and wrist to recover their strength and flexibility.

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Three locations to serve you

Capital Surgeons Group is a group surgical practice specializing in bariatric surgery, breast surgery, colorectal surgery, laparoscopic surgery and robotic surgery at the following locations:

Central Austin

3705 Medical Parkway, Suite 250 and 210
Austin, TX 78705
Appointments: 512.302.1210
Office Hours: M-F, 8:30 am to 4:30 pm

North Austin/Round Rock

505 W. Louis Henna Blvd., Suite 220
Austin, TX 78728
Appointments: 512.498.4860
Office Hours: M-F, 8:00 am to 4:30 pm

South Austin

5625 Eiger Road, Suite 230
Austin, TX 78735
Appointments: 512.441.7755
Office Hours: M-F, 8:00 am to 4:30 pm