Frequently Asked Questions
Why does my foot look different after my knee replacement surgery? Should it hurt to have sex after a C-section? How can I relieve the pressure on a trapped nerve? Our FAQ page has the answers you need to kick chronic pain for good.
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What is fasciotomy?
Treating Exertional Compartment Syndrome
Exertional compartment syndrome causes pain or cramps in the front muscle compartment of the lower leg. It can occur during exercise where there are repetitive movements such as swimming, biking, or running and lessen once the activity is stopped.
There are both nonsurgical and surgical options for treating exertional compartment syndrome. Nonsurgical options are only effective if you stop or reduce the specific activity triggering the condition. Surgery may be an option if conservative methods are ineffective in resolving pain. A fasciotomy is a surgical procedure often recommended for exertional compartment syndrome. It involves cutting the tight fascia, the bands of tissue surrounding the muscles, to relieve pressure in the muscle compartment.
What to Expect From Fasciotomy
Dr. Eric H. Williams will determine if your condition is exertional compartment syndrome or another condition causing the pain. Once a diagnosis is made, Dr. Williams will recommend treatment options such as a fasciotomy. At your consultation, he will thoroughly answer your questions and prepare you for what to expect before and after surgery.
Possible Risks and Complications
- Permanent nerve damage
- Damage to muscle or blood vessels
- Weakness or numbness
- Shedding of skin
- Scar tissue formation
Fasciotomy may not completely resolve chronic exertional compartment syndrome in some cases.
Are You Looking for a Baltimore Peripheral Nerve Specialist?
If you have chronic exertional compartment syndrome and need help, contact Dr. Williams for an evaluation. Our goal is to help ease your symptoms and get you back to enjoying your favorite activities as soon as possible. To schedule an appointment in the Baltimore office, contact us at 410-709-3868, or fill out our contact form.
What is traumatic carpal tunnel syndrome?
When we think about carpal tunnel syndrome, we generally think of a repetitive stress injury. We might, for example, associate the numbness, tingling, and pain of carpal tunnel syndrome with jobs that involve a significant amount of typing or other repetitive motions.
Carpal tunnel syndrome can also be caused by a traumatic injury such as a car accident. Any injury that entraps or impinges on the median nerve as it passes through the carpal tunnel in the wrist can lead to the development of symptoms.
How an Accident Can Lead to Traumatic Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
In an event like a car accident, the ligaments and tendons surrounding the median nerve may be damaged. As they heal, scar tissue may form. This scar tissue can impinge on the median nerve leading to the classic symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. Because the problem arises as ligaments and tendons heal rather than in the accident itself, the onset of traumatic carpal tunnel syndrome is often delayed—sometimes for quite some time.
Once traumatic carpal tunnel syndrome is diagnosed, however, the treatment plan resembles that of any case of carpal tunnel syndrome.
Treating Traumatic Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
In most cases, your doctor will suggest a series of common, conservative treatment options to try to get you relief from your carpal tunnel symptoms. However, these are not always effective—especially since the cause of the problem is trauma rather than repetitive motion or genetic predisposition.
It may well be the case that the best solution for addressing the symptoms of traumatic carpal tunnel syndrome is the minimally invasive surgical technique known as ultrasound-guided carpal tunnel release. This surgery releases the median nerve, alleviating the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.
Dr. Williams Can Treat Trauma-Induced Injuries
Dr. Eric H. Williams has the experience and expertise required to help you get the relief you need from traumatic carpal tunnel syndrome. Schedule an appointment today so that we can get you on the road to recovery sooner rather than later.
How do I know if I need carpal tunnel surgery?
You have been experiencing the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome for quite some time. During that time, you have tried a range of different conservative approaches to treatment.
You’ve worn braces. You’ve consistently done some stretching exercises. You’ve tried over-the-counter pain relievers. But so far, nothing has really provided significant, consistent relief. And at this point, the pain, numbness, and tingling are starting to make it difficult for you to continue with your daily activities—a situation that can be particularly problematic if the pain is preventing you from performing your job duties.
It’s time to consider surgery.
Don’t Wait Too Long to Take Care of Your Carpal Tunnel Pain
You may be reluctant to have surgery. That’s completely understandable. However, it is important to remember that surgery will stop the progression of the nerve damage you are experiencing. Stopping ongoing damage sooner rather than later is the best move you can make to ensure positive results from the surgical procedure.
In addition to simple reluctance to have surgery, you may also be worried that having the procedure done will result in a long recovery period that might keep you from working or enjoying your regular activities.
Fortunately, we have good news on that front: The recovery time is minimal for ultrasound-guided carpal tunnel release surgery. That means you can get back to your daily life quickly—and in significantly less pain.
Let’s Take Care of Your Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Pain. Contact Our Nerve Pain Specialist Today.
Dr. Eric H. Williams is ready to help you find relief from the ongoing symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. Ultrasound-guided carpal tunnel release surgery can correct the problem and get you back to your activities quickly.
If conservative approaches to dealing with the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome simply are not getting the job done, it is time to talk with Dr. Williams. You do not have to just live with the pain of carpal tunnel syndrome. Instead, contact us today to get started on the path toward putting carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms in your past.
Can carpal tunnel syndrome cause neck pain?
It might seem quite unlikely that the pain you are experiencing in your neck could have anything to do with what is going on in your wrist. After all, there is quite a lot of real estate between your wrists and your neck, and they are engaged in quite different activities when it comes to moving various parts of your body.
But the fact is, carpal tunnel syndrome can, in some cases, lead to a literal pain in the neck.
Carpal Tunnel and It's Connection to Neck Pain
Carpal tunnel syndrome develops when the median nerve is pinched in the carpal tunnel at the base of the hand. The median nerve is quite long—running all the way from the tips of the fingers through the wrist, forearm, elbow, humerus, shoulder, and into the neck. With that in mind, it is easier to understand how an issue down near your hands can be causing pain up near your head.
It Is Important to Get the Diagnosis Right With Your Neck Pain
Of course, carpal tunnel syndrome is far from the only thing that could be causing pain in your neck. That is why it is essential that you see a doctor with expertise in nerve issues so that you receive the correct diagnosis.
An incorrect diagnosis might lead to the wrong treatments, which in the end could make the problems you are experiencing far worse rather than better.
What Can Be Done If My Neck Pain Is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
If your doctor determines that you are suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome, they may recommend ultrasound-guided carpal tunnel release. This procedure can repair the tunnel that is pinching your medial nerve, which can lead to significant relief from pain—no matter where along the median nerve you have been experiencing that pain.
Dr. Williams Can Help. Contact Our Nerve Pain Specialist Today.
If you are experiencing pain related to a nerve issue, Dr. Eric H. Williams can help you find relief. He offers a full range of effective treatment options, including ultrasound-guided carpal tunnel release. Don’t suffer any longer. Contact our clinic today to make an appointment.
I’m experiencing numbness when I try to hold small objects like my phone. Is this a sign of carpal tunnel syndrome?
Numbness or a feeling of weakness in your hands when holding small objects such as a cellphone is a classic sign of carpal tunnel syndrome. This condition can make many everyday activities difficult to perform, but effective treatment options are available.
How Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Affects Fine Motor Skills
The carpal tunnel is a narrow region in your wrist located on the side of the palm. It protects the median nerve, but sometimes there can be too much pressure in this area. The compression of the median nerve leads to the condition known as carpal tunnel syndrome.
The median nerve controls your thumb, which is why it can be difficult to grasp small objects when you have carpal tunnel syndrome. You may notice trouble holding your phone first since this is something that you’re likely to do many times throughout the day. However, as your condition progresses, other simple tasks might become more difficult. Some examples of activities that might be hard to do with carpal tunnel syndrome include:
- Opening a bottle of juice or milk
- Chopping vegetables to make a salad
- Gripping the steering wheel of your car
- Holding a pen or pencil
- Buttoning up a dress shirt
- Brushing your teeth
- Applying makeup
As your condition progresses, you may find that you feel clumsy and struggle to tell where your hands are in relation to objects. This is called proprioception.
Getting Treatment for Carpal Tunnel. Contact Our Nerve Pain Specialist Today.
Not being able to complete simple tasks on your own is understandably frustrating. Carpal tunnel release can help you restore your independence.
You may be reluctant to consider carpal tunnel syndrome surgery because of the long recovery time associated with traditional open surgery or an endoscopic procedure. However, ultrasound-guided carpal tunnel release typically requires a recovery time of just three to six days. Since there’s normally no need for follow-up physical therapy, this is an effective way to help you get back to making the most of each day. Contact our Towson office to learn if this procedure might be the right choice for addressing your carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms.
Will regular computer use increase my risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome?
It’s a common misconception that office workers who spend their days typing at a computer are placing themselves at risk of carpal tunnel syndrome. A 2001 study in Neurology conducted by researchers from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, offers insight into the prevalence of carpal tunnel syndrome among office workers. This study looked at office workers who used their computer keyboards for six to seven hours per day and did not find an increased risk of carpal tunnel syndrome compared to other workers. Only 3.5% of the 250 workers in the study met the diagnostic criteria for carpal tunnel syndrome—a rate that was similar to the general population.
Computer Use Makes Symptoms More Noticeable
While typing doesn’t cause a person to develop carpal tunnel syndrome, it can make the symptoms of the condition more noticeable. Office workers who experience numbness, tingling, and burning in the fingers or pain that travels up the forearm towards the shoulder while typing should consult their healthcare provider for a diagnosis. A doctor can rule out conditions with overlapping symptoms, such as tendonitis.
Office Workers May Have Other Risk Factors
The mistaken belief that typing causes carpal tunnel syndrome may be related to the fact that office workers often have other risk factors for the condition. Women, especially those who are experiencing hormonal changes due to pregnancy or menopause, have an increased risk of carpal tunnel syndrome. Obesity and a sedentary lifestyle are also known risk factors.
Get Carpal Tunnel Treatment at Our Towson Office
Dr. Eric H. Williams, a nerve expert who specializes in reconstructive surgery and pain relief, knows that the demands of your work may not allow for you to spend several weeks or even months recovering from a traditional endoscopic procedure or open surgery. Learn more about your options for quickly and effectively addressing your carpal tunnel pain by contacting our Towson office.
What should I expect during recovery from ultrasound-guided carpal tunnel release surgery?
Please note that not every case is the same. There may be factors that change your expected recovery situation, and we will discuss these possibilities with you during your examination.
On average, however, you will be wide awake during the procedure, so no grogginess will be present afterwards. However, should patients wish to have sedation arrangement for this can be provided in advance. The total time you should spend with us is about 1 to 2 hours, with a fraction of that being the procedure itself.
Your incision may be closed with adhesive bandages or a single tiny suture if needed, but you will not have to immobilize your wrist. A Band-Aid or light dressing will be applied over the incision. Standard over-the-counter medication should be all you need to manage discomfort after surgery; however, stronger medication will be prescribed if needed.
Recovery from the soreness of surgery typically takes 3-6 days, compared to weeks with other methods of carpal tunnel release. Resolution of the nerve symptoms of carpal tunnel vary for every patient depending on many factors – including length of time you have had the nerve compression, and the severity of the compression.
The worse the disease, the longer it can take for the nerve to recover. Moderate nerve symptoms are expected to resolve very quickly; frequently the symptoms of numbness, tingling, and pain that were present prior to surgery can resolve within hours, days, or weeks.
What are the benefits of carpal tunnel release with ultrasound guidance?
There are many! To name several1,2:
- A small incision (3-5 mm) above wrist crease on the forearm is all that is required compared to open scar on the palm of the hand or a potentially slightly larger incision with and endoscopic releases.
- The procedure itself takes only a matter of minutes.
- Carpal tunnel release with ultrasound guidance can be performed entirely within our office, with no need for a hospital or surgical center.
- Only local anesthesia is typically required.
- Sutures are rarely needed to close the small incision. Adhesive strips are often enough.
- There is no need for a brace or cast.
- The patient can return to most daily activities almost immediately (though we do emphasize caution – no reason to be fool hearty!
- Most patients will be able to return to work very quickly after surgery, typically within 3-6 days.
1. Rojo-Manaute JM, Capa-Grasa A, Chana-Rodriguez F, et al. Ultra-minimally invasive sonographically guided carpal tunnel release: a randomized clinical trial. J Ultrasound Med. 2016 Jun;35(6):1149-1157.
2. Henning PT, Yang L, Awan T, et al. Minimally invasive ultrasound-guided carpal tunnel release: preliminary clinical results. J Ultrasound Med. 2018 Nov;37(11):2699-2706.
How fast do nerves recover?
How badly the nerve is injured will affect how fast it can recover. If a nerve is cut in half and sewn together, it can grow at the rate of an inch a month or a millimeter a day. If the nerve is mildly pinched but still functional, then it can recover function in a few hours or a few days.
As the nerve compression gets more severe or if it has been compressed a long time, it can take months for nerves to improve. The nerve will regenerate better in younger patients than in older patients. However, we do see nerve regeneration and functional improvement even in the elderly.
Contact Our Office To Get Help With Nerve Damage Recovery
Dr. Williams can create a treatment plan to help ease your pain and get you back to living pain-free as soon as possible. To schedule an appointment in the Baltimore office, contact us at (410) 709-3868 or fill out our contact form online.
How long will it take to recover from my surgery?
Generally, post-operative instructions call for rest and limited movement in order to speed up the healing process and recovery time. The length of recovery varies with each procedure and is different for each individual. Bruises usually disappear within a few days, and most swelling is gone in a matter of weeks. Your scars will fade over time but are permanent. All patients recover at a different rates. Patients who have been in pain for years may take a lot longer to heal and feel better than those have have a fairly recent problem. Those patients who are already taking a large amount of pain medication will require more medication than those who are not taking large doses of medication. Each patient is a little different. Those who are more active before surgery and who are able to push through daily activities despite their discomfort, will be more active after surgery. Our favorite post surgical recovery "therapy" is water therapy. Getting in a swimming pool and walking in the water does wonders for the lower extremity patients.