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Will My Sore Wrist Develop Into Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

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If you're experiencing pain and discomfort in one or both of your wrists and are worried that it may develop into carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) it's most important to first determine the exact root of the problem, and then set about the task of treating it before it has a chance to evolve into something more serious.

To help determine if your sore wrist is a warning that carpal tunnel syndrome is in your immediate future, first ask yourself the following questions:

  • - Does your occupation require you to use to the wrists and hands for the same repetitive movements over and over again throughout the day?
  • - Do you play sports or have a hobby that may be aggravating the wrist, causing painful symptoms including swelling, numbness and tingling in the hands and fingers to occur?
  • - Are you female, or overweight, or a smoker?
  • - Has anyone in your family ever had CTS?

A "yes" answer to any of the above questions puts you at risk for developing carpal tunnel syndrome, particularly the first two. Therefore, it's up to you to take proactive measures to ensure your symptoms don't become worse and lead to CTS which can lead to nerve damage as well as the need for surgery.

Avoiding Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Even if you are at a high risk of developing the condition, there are many things you can still do on your own to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome and for easing your current symptoms such as a sore wrist or swelling and inflammation.

The very first step toward avoiding carpal tunnel syndrome is to be consciously aware of how you use your wrist and hands and to protect these areas from injury at all times, whether at work or at play.

Depending on what you're doing and if the carpal tunnel within the wrist is already inflamed, a simple wrist brace, splint, or strap can be all you need to offer the right type of protection and support. Some wrist braces are meant to be worn strictly at night to keep yourself from turning the wrist in an awkward position and putting strain on the carpal tunnel and the median nerve. Other braces and supports are intended for use while working and are open at the end to allow the fingers free movement and range of motion but still keep the wrist amply supported.

In a pinch, even a simple ace bandage wrapped around the wrist and the base of the thumb will help keep the wrist in the proper position, just be sure not to wrap it too tightly as you'll restrict blood flow to the already sore area. Wrist braces and supports can be found here, or your doctor can prescribe a custom made brace or recommend the best type for your particular condition.

For dealing with the pain and discomfort of a sore wrist, anti-inflammatory and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or acetaminophen may all offer relief. Also, using an ice pack periodically will help to reduce swelling and inflammation within the wrist, especially if the pain is caused by carpal tunnel syndrome or similar repetitive stress injuries.