While it is unlikely to cause carpal tunnel syndrome solely from driving a car, most of us do not spend hours on end gripping a steering wheel and speeding around a track at nearly 200 miles per hour. NASCAR driver Jeff Burton, who has driven in over 650 races in his 25 year career, recently underwent surgery to resolve his carpal tunnel syndrome. Burton, who has 21 career victories, had begun to express concern that the pain in his hand and wrist due to carpal tunnel would affect his performance. Burton is expected to return to racing within a month after the outpatient procedure, his mind set on that 22nd victory.
Though carpal tunnel syndrome can be a painful condition, a variety of therapeutic options are available. At the Hand Surgery Center of Excellence in Beverly Hills, our team of hand specialists is dedicated to providing comprehensive and compassionate care for patients with carpal tunnel syndrome.
What Is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a condition in which the median nerve in your wrist is irritated. The median nerve runs through the center of the carpal tunnel, an arrangement of bones and ligaments at the base of your hand, and gives sensation to the thumb, index, middle and ring fingers. Already a tight space to begin with, any swelling that causes compression of the median nerve can cause painful symptoms associated with CTS. People with carpal tunnel syndrome may experience the following symptoms:
- Pain or burning sensation in the hand and fingers
- Numbness or tingling in the hand and fingers
- Swelling of the hand or wrist
- Weakness or loss of muscle function
What Can Cause Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Any structural defect in the hand or inflammatory condition that puts pressure on the median nerve may cause carpal tunnel syndrome. In Burton’s case, the frequent and repetitive stress placed on his hand and wrist while gripping the steering wheel caused swelling and irritation of the median nerve. Repetitive motions, hand fractures, and cysts are the most common causes of CTS.
How Can Symptoms of CTS be Relieved?
Though patients with more severe cases of carpal tunnel syndrome may require surgery, many people can achieve pain relief through non-surgical treatment. Depending on the specific cause of CTS, the physicians at the Hand Surgery Center of Excellence may recommend activity modification to reduce repetitive motions, splint placement over the affected hand, or anti-inflammatory medications and injections.
In some cases, surgical treatment for carpal tunnel may be the most effective way to relieve symptoms associated with CTS. At the Hand Surgery Center of Excellence, our surgeons are expertly trained in a procedure called minimal incision carpal tunnel release. This outpatient procedure relieves pressure on the median nerve, while causing minimal damage to surrounding tissue in the affected hand. The minimal incision approach has a very high success rate and reduces total recovery time to several months. Efficient recovery and long-term relief for patients with debilitating carpal tunnel syndrome is our top priority.
Contact a Beverly Hills Hand Surgeon
The Hand Surgery Center of Excellence offers renowned orthopedic and plastic surgeons specializing in the treatment of hand conditions. If you have specific questions or have been experiencing symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome, contact our Beverly Hills hand surgeons by calling (888) 529-1873.