If you’re experiencing sudden pain, numbness and tingling, or swelling in the hand, there could be a variety of causes including an injury, carpal tunnel syndrome or cubital tunnel syndrome. To help diagnose the cause of your symptoms, your hand specialist will examine your hand and ask a series of questions. Understanding the exact location of the swelling, when it started and whether it is constant or occasional will all help the doctor with the diagnosis.
The hand is comprised of over 197 muscles, joints, bones and ligaments. A broken bone, pulled muscle, torn ligament, or tendon injury can cause hand pain and swelling. Recurring movements, playing sports, gaming or other activities that require repetitive motion of the hand can cause repetitive stress injury over time.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused from compression on the median nerve, which runs down your arm and goes through a narrow passageway in your wrist. It can cause a feeling of tingling, mainly in the thumb, index finger, long finger and half of the ring finger. The pressure may be caused by certain health conditions, repetitive activities or extended vibration. Occasionally, the cause may remain unknown. Carpal tunnel syndrome treatment has a high rate of success and can help prevent permanent damage to hand function. Carpal tunnel syndrome relief may consist of over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication, wearing a splint to alleviate pressure on the median nerve or carpal tunnel surgery to reduce pressure on the nerve.
Cubital tunnel syndrome is caused by pressure on the ulnar nerve which passes through a tunnel on the inside of the elbow. Cubital tunnel syndrome can cause numbness or tingling in the hand, ring and little finger, especially when the elbow is bent. Pain in the hand or inside of the elbow and weakness or clumsiness in the arm and hand may also be present. You may experience hand weakness as well. Cubital tunnel syndrome is often caused from frequent stress to the elbow such as pulling, lifting, bending or applying weight to the elbow. Alternatively, conditions such as bone spurs, arthritis or previous injuries to the elbow may cause cubital tunnel syndrome. Occasionally, the cause is unknown. Treatment may include resting the elbow, wearing a splint, brace or elbow pad, and anti-inflammatory medication. More persistent cases may require surgery to alleviate pressure on the ulnar nerve.
The Midwest Hand Surgery team is ready to help you with injuries to the hand, wrist and fingers. Give us a call or click here to make an appointment.
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