Nerve injuries range from compression of the nerve (like carpal tunnel syndrome) to a complete severing of the nerve and its surrounding sheath. At The Hand Center in Glastonbury, Tolland, Hartford, and Bloomfield, Connecticut, the experienced medical team provides specialized therapies and advanced forms of surgery to treat nerve injury. Find out more by calling The Hand Center office nearest you today or booking an appointment online.
A nerve injury happens when something damages or presses on one or more of your nerves.
Nerves carry messages to and from your brain so you can move and feel. Damage to your nerves can affect your ability to use your muscles and alter the sensations you feel. Besides pain, nerve injury can also cause:
Trauma and accidents can crush or sever nerves, causing severe nerve injury, but most nerve injuries are due to pressure. Two of the most common nerve injuries affecting the hand and arm are carpal tunnel syndrome and cubital tunnel syndrome.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition caused by increased pressure on the median nerve as it goes through your wrist.
The median nerve runs through bones and connective tissues in your wrist called the carpal tunnel. At this narrow point in your arm, pressure can develop if the connective tissues start to swell or thicken and push on the median nerve. Swelling and thickening can come from several causes, including:
Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome include numbness, tingling, and pain in your wrist and the thumb side of the affected hand. You’re likely to have weakening muscles in your thumb, affecting your ability to grip. Symptoms are often worse overnight, or when you’re using your hands a lot.
Like carpal tunnel syndrome, cubital tunnel syndrome involves pressure being placed on a nerve, but this time in your elbow and it affects the ulnar nerve.
Symptoms of this condition include pain on the inside of your elbow, numbness, and tingling of your small and ring fingers. Untreated cubital tunnel syndrome can cause hand weakness and loss of function.
Nerve injuries where the nerve is still intact but stretched or compressed can respond well to conservative treatments like:
Severed nerves and those that don’t respond to these conservative approaches usually require surgery. The team at The Hand Center has specialist expertise in surgical options for nerve injury.
Carpal tunnel release and cubital tunnel release relieve pressure on the nerve by releasing any tight structures like a thickened ligament. This gives the nerve more room and better blood supply.
Your provider at The Hand Center might also have to move the nerve out of a bed of scar tissue into a better position. This process is called transposition.
Severed nerves might need repair or a graft to restore sensation and motor function. You might also need a nerve conduit or tube to help guide the recovering nerve. The graft could come from one of your tendons.
The Hand Center team does these surgeries using minimally invasive endoscopic techniques wherever possible.