When your favorite hobby or career puts extra strain on your wrists and hands, you might wonder whether you have carpal tunnel syndrome. Maybe you are already experiencing symptoms, like numbness or tingling in your fingers, and you want to do something to make sure it does not worsen. The good news is there are plenty of things you can do to prevent symptoms from worsening and protect yourself from carpal tunnel syndrome.
Carpal tunnel syndrome develops due to pressure on the median nerve that provides feeling to your thumb and fingers except for the pinky. The path of this nerve through your wrist leads it through the narrow carpal tunnel, which consists of ligament and bone. Therefore, if your wrist becomes irritated and swollen, the carpal tunnel presses against your median nerve, causing the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.
There are no perfect ways to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome from developing, but there are things you can do to reduce strain and stress on your hands and wrists to have the best chance possible of never developing it. Our orthopedic surgeon in Debary recommends the following things you can do to discourage carpal tunnel syndrome:
If you have carpal tunnel symptoms triggered at work, talk to your boss about changing things up. You can make alterations to your workspace to see if your symptoms subside. For example, if you work at a computer, try keeping your elbows at your side while typing or adjusting your keyboard to a position that does not require you to bend your wrists when you are typing. Also, ask your boss about getting you an ergonomic keyboard or a wrist rest to help keep your wrist in an optimal position.
Whenever possible, avoid bending your wrists all the way down or up. Instead, you take the pressure off of your median nerve by keeping your wrists in a straight, neutral position. You can also purchase wrist braces to keep your wrists straight while sleeping or doing tasks that trigger symptoms.
Take a break from repetitive actions to stretch or bend your hands. Taking a 10 to 15-minute break every hour is best. Breaks are especially essential for people who use tools that require applying lots of force or tools that vibrate constantly.
Make sure that you are stretching your wrists and hands often. You can use the break you take for a stretching exercise like this one:
In our daily routine, we get so accustomed to doing things a certain way that we do not even consider them. Sometimes you may be using more force than a job actually requires. For example, you may be hanging on to tolls too tightly when all you need is a firm grip. Or, you may spend your day pounding away at the keys on your keyboard when you could use gentle keystrokes instead. Pay close attention to the tension and pressure you are using while working with your hands. If you can reduce the tension and pressure even a little, you will notice a significant difference.
These are just a few of the things you can do to discourage carpal tunnel. Contact us today if you need an orthopedic surgeon in Debary. We are here to help!