Christiane Fux studied journalism and psychology in Hamburg. Since 2001, the experienced medical editor writes magazine articles, news and specialist texts on all conceivable health topics. In addition to her work for lifelikeinc.com, Christiane Fux also works in prose. Her first thriller appeared in 2012, as well as writing, designing and publishing her own crime thrillers.More Articles by Christiane FuxA carpal tunnel syndrome arises from a shortage in the tendon compartment of the wrist. This pinches the middle arm nerve, which feeds various areas of the hand. The hand falls asleep and the patients suffer from numbness, discomfort, pain, later paralysis and dysfunction. Read here what a carpal tunnel syndrome is exactly, how it develops and how it can be treated.
ICD codes for this disease: ICD codes are internationally valid medical diagnosis codes. They are found e.g. in medical reports or on incapacity certificates. G56ArtikelübersichtKarpaltunnelsyndrom
Carpal tunnel syndrome: short overview
- Description: Narrowed carpal tunnel in the wrist exerts pressure on the middle arm nerve
- Causes: long-term wrist overload, predisposition, rheumatism, injuries, water retention, diabetes, overweight, kidney weakness
- symptoms: Nocturnal falling asleep of the hand, sensations of discomfort, pain, later impaired function, paralysis, diminished sense of touch
- Diagnosis: Querying typical symptoms and possible risk factors, functional and pain tests, measurement of nerve conduction velocity
- Treatment: Nocturnal immobilisation by rail, cortisone treatment, if necessary, surgical extension of the carpal tunnel
- Forecast: complete healing with timely therapy, irreversible paralysis symptoms at delayed start of treatment possible
What is a carpal tunnel syndrome?
In a carpal tunnel syndrome, an important tendon compartment, the so-called carpal tunnel, is narrowed in the wrist. He then laces a nerve that provides for certain areas of the hand. Possible consequences are discomfort, pain and paralysis.
"Nerves forgive no damage"
Three questionsProf. Dr. med. Dennis von Heimburg,
Specialist in Hand Surgery
Who gets a carpal tunnel syndrome especially easily?Prof. Dr. med. Dennis von Heimburg
Theoretically everyone can get a carpal tunnel syndrome. In fact, they are predominantly women of advanced age, mostly after menopause. Because the nerve divides a canal with tendons, tendon gliding tissue and fatty tissue. And that can swell due to hormonal factors. The nerve is the weakest participant in the channel and is most likely to be depressed. This then causes the typical complaints, which should be pursued urgently.
How do you know that the nerve is not restricted elsewhere?Prof. Dr. med. Dennis von Heimburg
It is important for the diagnosis what the patient describes. In addition, I send almost every patient to the neurologist. It measures the nerve conduction velocity and makes nerve tests and can thus determine where the problem lies. For example, the nerve may also be trapped on the shoulder - but this is much harder to treat than the carpal tunnel syndrome. Since the patients are often symptom free after treatment.
Does a carpal tunnel syndrome always need surgery?Prof. Dr. med. Dennis von Heimburg
There are also conservative methods, such as restraining the hand at night or taking cortisone. In the long term, however, only one surgery will help. There are patients who report improvement without treatment - but this is usually not a good sign. The nerve makes less discomfort, because he conducts even worse. Therefore, my advice: Get checked by the neurologist sooner rather than later and then treat surgically. Nerves forgive no damage!
- Prof. Dr. med. Dennis von Heimburg,
Specialist in Hand Surgery
Prof. von Heimburg is also a specialist in plastic and aesthetic surgery. He practices in his practice hospital Kaiserplatz in Frankfurt am Main.
The carpal tunnel is formed by the carpal bones and a stabilizing connective tissue band. In the middle of it run some hand tendons as well as the middle arm nerve (median nerve). This runs from the shoulder over the upper and the forearm. In addition to two other nerves, he controls the muscle movements and allows the sense of touch of the hand.Location of the carpal tunnelIn carpal tunnel syndrome, the median nerve gets under pressure and can be permanently damaged.
Bottleneck in the wrist
If the tunnel narrows, the nerve is stressed and irritated by the pressure. Then the typical symptoms of a carpal tunnel syndrome appear like numbness, pain later even paralysis.
The problem is that the first signs of a carpal tunnel syndrome such as falling asleep at night, tingling and slight discomfort are often not taken seriously. Some sufferers only go to the doctor when permanent damage has already occurred.