Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Care for a common condition affecting the hand and wrist

Care for a Common Hand and Wrist Condition

Carpal tunnel syndrome is becoming an increasingly common condition. In fact, it affects nearly 1 million new people each year. At Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital–Needham, our orthopedic specialists offer you the latest care and treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome.

What Causes Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by a compressed nerve in the wrist.

Repetitive activities, such as typing on a keyboard, can cause nerve compression. There are many other causes of carpal tunnel syndrome:

  • A narrow carpal tunnel (due to heredity).
  • Arthritis.
  • Diabetes.
  • Hormone-related conditions, such as pregnancy or menopause.
  • Medications, such as birth control pills or some blood pressure medications.
  • Raynaud's disease, which impairs blood flow in the hands.
  • Use of vibrating equipment or tools.
  • Water retention due to kidney or heart disease.
  • Wrist injury.
What are the Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome can vary:

  • Tingling, burning or numbness, especially in your thumb and index or middle fingers
  • Pain or numbness that worsens with movement or after waking up
  • Hand stiffness or cramping that gets better after shaking the hand or waking up in the morning
  • Weakness or clumsiness of your hand
How is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Diagnosed?

Our providers use a range of simple and minimally invasive tests to diagnose carpal tunnel syndrome:

How is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Treated?

Treating carpal tunnel syndrome involves relieving pressure on nerves in the hand and wrist. There are several ways to relieve pressure. Your orthopedic provider may recommend a variety of treatments:

  • Rest and exercises
  • Splinting
  • Medications, including cortisone injections
  • Carpal tunnel release surgery
How is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Prevented?

You can lower your risk of getting carpal tunnel syndrome by taking these steps:

  • Minimize repetitive hand movements.
  • Alternate between activities or tasks to reduce strain.
  • When using your wrists, keep them straight and let your arms and shoulders share the stress.
  • Use your whole hand or both hands to pick up items.
  • Avoid holding an object the same way for a long time.
  • If you work in an office, adjust your desk, chair and keyboard so you are in the best possible position.
  • Take breaks at least once an hour to:
    • Rest or shake your hands.
    • Massage the palms and backs of your hands.
  • Do stretches to loosen the shoulders and arms before settling in to work.
  • Keep your hands warm.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Cut down on caffeine and smoking.

Services & Specialties

Our hand and wrist providers work with these and other specialties to get you the care you need.

Make an Appointment

To speak with a member of our orthopedic team, please call or email us.