Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common problem affecting the wrist and hand during pregnancy. It affects approximately 62% of pregnant women.

The symptoms include pins and needles or numbness of the wrist and fingers, wrist pain, reduced grip strength and reduced dexterity (eg difficulty completing intricate tasks such as doing up buttons or tying laces).  The symptoms tend to increase at night and cause sleep disturbance.  This is commonly due to fluid in the Carpal Tunnel (oedema) which increases the pressure on the nerve running through the wrist.  If the wrist can be kept neutral and the oedema reduced, the symptoms should ease.

Treatment of this condition involves the provision of night splints, advice on avoiding extremes of wrist movements, control of swelling / oedema and simple exercises.  However, in some cases, steroid injections are required to ease the symptoms prior to delivery.

In the majority of cases the pain dissipates after birth, but occasionally the symptoms can continue for up to 3 years after delivery. 

It is important to remember that in most cases, splinting and self management is effective.  Further treatment is only required occasionally.

If you have been referred by your GP or Midwife you will be sent a carpal tunnel information leaflet in the post

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