Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Hand FAQ


My 70-year-old father has the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome but he won't get his hand checked even though it's limiting his enjoyment of his hobbies. He says that at his age, the doctors won't do anything. Is that true? Do seniors not get relief from pain?


Carpal tunnel syndrome is a syndrome that causes pain and/or numbness in the hand because of pressure on the medial nerve, which runs from your arm to your hand. Seniors can and do develop carpal tunnel syndrome and, often, seniors have more intense symptoms than do younger people. The answer to your question about if seniors have surgery to correct the problem is "it depends." Surgery is always somewhat of a risk. Surgeons always have to take into account the health of their patients before agreeing to operate. Age shouldn't be a deciding factor if the patient is healthy enough and doesn't have any illnesses that could make the surgery or recovery differently. Therefore, whether your father would have surgery depends on his doctor, on the severity of the carpal tunnel syndrome, and on his health and motivation. Robert A. Weber, MD, Daniel J. DeSalvo, MD, and Malcolm J. Rude, MD. Five-Year Follow-Up of Carpal Tunnel Release in Patients Over Age 65. In  Journal of Hand Surgery. February 2010. Vol. 35. No. 2. Pp. 207-211.

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