Tingly hands. Jolts in the wrist. The signs of carpal tunnel can be jarring.
People put joints, tendons, ligaments and carpals through much wear and tear and that can lead to conditions like carpal tunnel. Carpal tunnel commonly afflicts people who do repetitive hand motions or use awkward hand positions at work. Carpal tunnel is a common occupational hazard for people who work as hairdressers, farmers, cashiers, bakers, janitors or around mechanics and machines.
JRMC Orthopedic Surgeon, Dr. Timothy Volk shared, “Carpal tunnel syndrome is the most common compressive neuropathy that often occurs with repetitive motion activities. Risk factors include obesity, female gender, pregnancy, hypothyroidism, alcoholism and smoking among others.”
Many factors attribute to carpal tunnel syndrome including wrist fractures, arthritis, and prolonged exposure or repetitive flexing with vibrating tools. Even prolonged computer and keyboard use can impact the median nerve within the wrist, causing carpal tunnel.
Although there is no proven strategy to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome, individuals may minimize risk. To do that:
- Relax your grip. Whether you are writing a novel by hand, hammering nails or typing on a computer, relax your grip.
- Take a break. Take time to stretch and bend. If you aren’t able to take a break, try alternating tasks.
- Ergonomics is key. Switch out your computer mouse and keyboard to more ergonomic-friendly options. In larger workplaces, a designated employee may ensure employee ergonomic health and may have better or alternate tools. Posture plays a role too. Using the correct posture to accomplish tasks.
Dr. Dean, JRMC orthopedic surgeon shared, “Our joints need moments of rest so they can naturally work to repair themselves.”
After relaxing, taking breaks and modifying workspaces, if you or someone you know notices the following signs, it may be time to see a doctor.
- Tingling or numbness. The thumb, index, middle and ring fingers are may feel tingly or numb as carpal tunnel gradually occurs. The pinky finger is rarely impacted.
- Feeling an electric shock. This shock sensation, usually from the wrist to the arm, is a symptom often noticed while driving a vehicle, holding a phone or book. It can often disrupt sleep habits.
- Weakness. This is another sign indicating carpal tunnel. If you struggle to pinch, grasp or hold objects, perhaps it’s an indication of carpal tunnel.
Still having aches and pains? Contact our orthopedics team and schedule direct: (701) 952-4878.