Treating carpal tunnel syndrome


Carpal tunnel syndrome is a peripheral nerve compression in the base of the hand. Symptoms typically show up in the hand — usually the thumb, index and middle finger and half the ring finger — however, the pathology is in the base of the palm. Most patients complain of nighttime numbness and tingling.

Causes can be obesity, pregnancy, hypothyroidism, arthritis, diabetes and trauma from repetitive work, such as uninterrupted typing.

“The first line of treatment is splinting at nighttime to keep the wrist straight to help minimize pressure in the carpal tunnel,”  said Dr. Priyesh D. Patel, a fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeon with Centegra Physician Care-McHenry County Orthopedics. “If that fails, we talk about doing physical therapy. Injections of steroids also can help alleviate the symptoms, and finally, if that fails, we move on to discuss surgical options.”

Surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome is usually an outpatient procedure.

“The most common way to perform the surgery is a mini open technique where a small incision is made at the base of the palm to divide the carpal ligament to alleviate the pressure off the nerve,” Patel said. “Patients come in and go home the same day able to start using their fingers right away.”

Rehabilitation after surgery for carpal tunnel is minimal.

“The majority of the rehabilitation is done at home by the patient,” Patel said. “Ultimately, it progresses to scar massage to minimize pain at the surgical site.”

Most patients return to light activities after carpal tunnel surgery on the day of surgery and return to most activities by six weeks.

“Patients should come to McHenry County Orthopedics for their care because they get one-on-one direct care from a fellowship-trained surgeon,” Patel said.

Call 815-356-5200 to make an appointment, or visit

Centegra Health System : 4309 Medical Center Drive, McHenry, IL 60050 :

815.338.6600 :


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