Do Carpal Tunnel symptoms get worse if I don’t treat them?

We're happy to share insights from our doctors.

Carpal tunnel is a common condition of the hand, diagnosed, on average, over 3 million times per year in the United States. People typically begin to notice the signs of carpal tunnel when they experience tingling or numbness in the thumb, index, middle and/or ring fingers. Some people may also feel an electric shock-like sensation in these fingers, along with weakness. These may be signs of carpal tunnel, in which the median nerve is under pressure. It’s important to see a hand doctor when these symptoms begin for a number of reasons.

Carpal Tunnel treatments at the start of onset are often conservative

When considering whether or not to consult a hand specialist about possible carpal tunnel, consider that treatment of an early case can begin with simple interventions, including rest, splinting and steroid injections. There are cases that improve from these types of treatments if done early, avoiding the need for surgery to correct carpal tunnel.

Carpal Tunnel symptoms may be progressive

Carpal tunnel symptoms may be relatively mild at the beginning, but worsen as time goes on. Without treatment, affected hands may become so weak that it’s difficult to hold or grasp items. Fingers may seem to lose coordination, making it difficult to do things like button a shirt. The muscles at the base of the thumb can essentially waste way in severe cases. Some untreated cases may become so severe that the carpal tunnel sufferer may not be able to feel heat or cold in their hands. It’s vital to consult a hand specialist before the condition progresses to this point.

Early diagnosis and treatment are important to avoid permanent damage from Carpal Tunnel

If carpal tunnel is left untreated, there can be permanent damage to the median nerve. It is important to make an appointment with a hand doctor when the onset of symptoms begin so that an untreated case doesn’t potentially lead to a disabling condition.

The Midwest Hand Surgery team are experts in treating carpal tunnel syndrome. If you think you may have the condition, call us or request an appointment so we can start to help.

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