Your wrist is one of the hardest-working joints in the body. The work that many of us do with our hands, including writing or typing, can contribute to repetitive stress pain in the wrist. Part of the wrist’s complex anatomy is the transverse carpal ligament; the main ligament involved in carpal tunnel syndrome.
Most activities involve your wrists to some extent, especially the dominant hand. Many nerves, muscles, ligaments, bones, and tendons work together to move your fingers and hands. With repetitive stress disorders, parts of the wrist become damaged and inflamed from moving in the same way repeatedly without enough rest or movement to strengthen complementary muscles.
The carpal tunnel is a narrow opening through which tendons and a nerve (the median nerve) run along the forearm, to the fingers. They are involved in most of the hand’s sensation and movement. The tunnel is formed on the bottom and sides by the bones of the wrist, and across the top by the transverse carpal ligament. It stretches across the heel of the wrist, and connects the wrist bones together.
Stress and repetitive movement of the wrist can cause the tendons in the carpal tunnel to become inflamed and swell against the median nerve. They press the nerve between the wrist bones and the transverse carpal ligament that form the carpal tunnel. This increased pressure and inflammation around the nerve causes pain and other sensations that would indicate carpal tunnel syndrome.
The movement that produces carpal tunnel syndrome varies from person to person, and so do the symptoms. Many people feel pain, some will experience tingling or numbness. One thing is certain, however: It will generally worsen over time without treatment.
Conservative treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome ranges from anti-inflammatory medication to wrist splints, or even cortisone injections. These may be temporary solutions, but can alleviate the issue if there are changes in the way the wrist is moved and used. That may mean resting from certain movements, or changing your workstation to something more ergonomic. In some cases, surgical correction is necessary for lasting relief.
Pain Specialists of Austin helps patients with wrist pain every day. If you have transverse carpal ligament pain or suspect carpal tunnel syndrome, call (855) 876-7246 for an appointment today. We have 10 convenient locations in the Austin, Texas area, and you can also request an appointment online.