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Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

  • A pinched nerve in the wrist 
  • Causes numbness in the thumb, index, middle and thumb side of ring finger 
  • If untreated can lead to weakness and muscle wasting (atrophy) of the hand
  • Learn more about Dr. Anderson's approach to carpal tunnel here
  • Pinky and Ring finger numbness can be a caused by a related condition called Cubital Tunnel Syndrome 

What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

FAQs after Carpal Tunnel Surgery:

What is the recovery from the surgery?

  • A soft dressing after surgery can be removed after 2 days. Most people can return to light duty within a week. Over the next weeks the pain will subside and within 6-8 weeks grip strength is usually back to normal. Improvements in the numbness/tingling depend on severity but in general improvements are seen in this time as well.

How big is the incision?

  • Dr. Anderson performs >95% of his surgeries minimally invasive with a small 1/2 inch (1-2cm) incision.

When can I drive?

  • You may drive as soon as you can hold the wheel with two hands and are no longer requiring pain medication. Many patients can drive the day after surgery.

How long is the procedure?

  • The procedure itself only takes about 10 minutes. Most patients have the surgery with a combination of mild sedation for their comfort and numbing medicine.

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition affecting one of the main nerves in the wrist area. The carpal tunnel is a space created by the natural arch of the wrist bones. A thick band called the transverse carpal ligament creates a roof to the tunnel. This means that the size of the tunnel cannot change, as the bones and ligament act like solid walls. Nine tendons that bend the fingers and thumb and the median nerve pass through the tunnel. The median nerve provides feeling (sensation) to the skin of the thumb, index and middle fingers, as well as half the ring finger. The nerve also provides the communication line to the muscles at the base of the thumb (thenar muscles).


The most likely cause of carpal tunnel syndrome is extra pressure on the median nerve at the wrist inside the tunnel. This extra pressure can come from swelling (inflammation) of the contents inside the tunnel. When pressure results in nerve symptoms, it is called a compressive neuropathy. While the exact carpal tunnel syndrome causes are usually unknown and due to the patient’s personal anatomy, there are many factors that can contribute to the increased pressure or inflammation,

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