Medical Edge: Carpal Tunnel

Posted at: 05/07/2013 6:45 PM
By: Kenny King

(ABC 6 NEWS) -- When you're a quilter like Sandy Huber, there's always lots to sew, lots to cut -- lots to miss out on when carpal tunnel syndrome strikes.

Sandy tried ice, a wrist brace, and cortisone shots -- for many patients, those therapies bring relief but for her, the aches and the numbness always returned.

So she joined the half-million Americans who have surgery each year to deal with it.

Mayo Clinic Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Sanj Kakar says the problem lies in the palm of your hand, where a band of tissue covers that important little tunnel.

Pressure on that nerve may be caused by inflammation, masses, or a thickening of tissue so the goal of surgery is to ease the discomfort by opening the tunnel and relieving the pressure.

It's done under local anesthesia -- the patient goes home the same day.

In most cases, Dr. Kakar says the cause isn't known, but some medical conditions increase your risks, such as diabetes, underactive thyroid or rheumatoid arthritis.