Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Hand FAQ


My 78-year-old mother has carpal tunnel syndrome in her right hand. It's so severe she can't hold a book or even the phone. What can be done for her?


Early treatment after symptoms begin is the key to success with carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS). A six to eight week trial of therapy is the first step. This may include anti-inflammatory drugs and physical or occupational therapy.

If the symptoms aren't better, surgery may be the next step. A band of tissue across the carpal tunnel is released to take pressure off the median nerve. Even with severe CTS and/or a delay in treatment, studies show most patients get better.

If treatment is delayed too long, full return to normal may not happen.

Michael E. Leit, MD, et al. Patient-Reported Outcome after Carpal Tunnel Release for Advanced Disease: A Prospective and Longitudinal Assessment in Patients Older Than Age 70. In Journal of Hand Surgery. May 2004. Vol. 29A. No. 3. Pp. 379-383.

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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