Carpal tunnel blues

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11 years 3 months ago #7631 by Kiwibruce
Replied by Kiwibruce on topic Re: Carpal tunnel blues
Google is great! its amazing what you find when you look up Carpal tunnel surgery success rates .
www.repetitive-strain.com/Articles/carpa...ryisitnecessary.html
23% success is not good
55% of patients dont go back to their occupation , also not good.

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11 years 3 months ago #7632 by AR_convert
Replied by AR_convert on topic Re: Carpal tunnel blues

Kiwibruce wrote: Google is great! its amazing what you find


Yes, but do you trust the source? This info is immediately followed by a link to sell a wrist stretching package and the info itself is not referenced!

Always looking for the next boat :)

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11 years 3 months ago #7635 by Kiwibruce
Replied by Kiwibruce on topic Re: Carpal tunnel blues
Fair point but it dosent mean its wrong! I would also say do you trust the surgen, hes selling you a service. If I was going to have an operation like that I would find the references, I would also exhaust all other treatment options.

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11 years 3 months ago #7636 by owenw
Replied by owenw on topic Re: Carpal tunnel blues
Kiwibruce - I tried all the alternatives, especially when it became apparent that my 2nd CT {LH} needed doing, (and I'd previously been through the rehab from the 1st time {RH}). The surgery has provided a complete remedy and I have now been trouble free for years. Once CT Syndrome has been positively diagnosed, pursuing alternatives only delays the inevitable, meanwhile you risk more permanent nerve damage.

Life truly lived is full of risk; to fence out risk is to fence out life itself

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11 years 3 months ago #7638 by Kiwibruce
Replied by Kiwibruce on topic Re: Carpal tunnel blues
Good to hear that you are one of the 23%

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11 years 3 months ago #7640 by AR_convert
Replied by AR_convert on topic Re: Carpal tunnel blues

Kiwibruce wrote: Fair point but it dosent mean its wrong!


Nowhere in my reply did I say it was wrong!

The reason references are handy (pardon the pun) is that those figures may well come from a study of employees of a manual labour type industry such as brick layers, that would tend to skew results somewhat. Also when patients are treated under workers compensation insurance that is known to really skew outcomes and treatments opted for.

Kiwibruce wrote: I would also say do you trust the surgen, hes selling you a service. If I was going to have an operation like that I would find the references, I would also exhaust all other treatment options.


Spot on :) , when I walked into my surgeons office with a handful of journal articles on AC joint fixation he almost fell off his chair :laugh: All of a sudden he had to discuss and justify treatment options rather than just choosing what options he preferred.

Kiwibruce wrote: Good to hear that you are one of the 23%


Please don't bandy about unsubstantiated figures like this, lesser educated types may well read this thread,take it as gospel truth and as a result change their treatment attitude.

Always looking for the next boat :)

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11 years 3 months ago #7641 by mrak
Replied by mrak on topic Re: Carpal tunnel blues
There are a lot of conflicting views on this type of surgery which is exactly why i was seeking first hand (there I go again)accounts of other paddlers' experiences with this common ailment. I do have references now from other paddlers who swear by this surgeon and I have even spoken to a nurse at the hospital who paddles, who gave him a glowing report. They usually know who's good. So I'm more confident.
I know everything has a risk, but I intend to paddle hard for years to come so i'm prepared to have the op to make it more enjoyable in the future. I had a hernia operation last year which was terribly uncomfortable to recover from, but which was better than the hernia, and which now is very strong due to 100 ab crunches a day. So I look at this op next week as a mechanical repair to get better performance from my `engine'. I'll let you know eventually whether it was a good or bad decision (and incision), which may help other paddlers with the dilemma of CT. Thanks everyone.

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11 years 2 months ago #7893 by Kiwibruce
Replied by Kiwibruce on topic Re: Carpal tunnel blues
So mrak how was the operation???How about updates on your progress every now and then..

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8 years 8 months ago #20193 by mskehoe
Replied by mskehoe on topic Carpal tunnel blues
So Mrak - what was the outcome of the surgery? looks like I may have the same problem - considering my options. would love to know whether it was successful, what was the recovery period etc

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8 years 8 months ago #20218 by mrak
Replied by mrak on topic Carpal tunnel blues
Hi Mskehoe,
Sorry to hear you have the problem. It's been well over two years since I had the op and I'm glad I had it. That's not to say that I still don't get the occassional light numbness in that hand when I grip too hard for too long. Poor technique most likely. But you may not know the op is not guaranteed to stop the problem, permanently, in all people. I was warned by the surgeon that in about 3% of case it can re- occur.
So, I had the op, spent about 3-5 weeks complaining about the pain and inconvenience, then gradually forgot about it as life and exercise returned to normal. I think I was back on the ski after 4 weeks, paddling as slowly as possible, just to get mobility back into my hand. Don't even think about trying push ups! Too painful. I squeezed soft exercise balls, then tennis balls to exercise the left hand muscles.

When I finally decided it was time for proper training again (I think that was at about 6 weeks?? 7?) I was happy to find that the numbness which used to come on after 15 mins paddling had gone.
One year later, the hand was good most of the time. Two years later I have the odd numbness in the fingers, but not nearly as bad as before and it disappears more quickly too. Maybe I'm one of the lucky 3% who get carpal tunnel growing back. But it only comes sometimes after hard and continuous paddling with no stops or pauses.
But I'm glad I had it done. Good luck with your decision mskehoe.

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8 years 8 months ago #20220 by mskehoe
Replied by mskehoe on topic Carpal tunnel blues
Excellent - thanks for the feedback. One last question - are you right or left handed? You mention operation on your left hand I'm assuming you are left handed this was your control hand?

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8 years 8 months ago #20221 by mrak
Replied by mrak on topic Carpal tunnel blues
No, I'm right-handed!

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8 years 8 months ago #20224 by Marieski
Replied by Marieski on topic Carpal tunnel blues
Note that it is possible to develop symptoms identical to carpal tunnel, because the same nerve is compressed, through overdoing grip and too rapid increases in training. This produces an overuse compartment syndrome in the forearm, which squashes the median nerve between the muscles, rather than at the wrist. This syndrome is familiar to BMX bikers, but NOT to many health professionals, including orthopods and some sports doctors.

I got this quite badly a couple of years ago when I changed my technique. My fingers, apart from the pinky and the pinky side of the ring finger, would go numb and my grip would go weak. This is typical carpal tunnel. At the same time, the muscles of my right forearm felt swollen and tight. This is not typical carpal tunnel and represents the compartment syndrome part. The finger numbness and weakness got worse and worse with every paddle, with symptoms recurring during the day and especially at night (this happens also with typical carpal tunnel). Eventually I stopped paddling till it settled, then restarted with more gradual buildup. I then went through a phase where it would come on at about 15-20 mins. If however, I took a rest at 30 mins and paddled very gently for 3-5 mins it would go away and not recur for the rest of the session, no matter how hard I went.

The lesson is: if someone thinks you have carpal tunnel syndrome, ask them if they have heard of chronic overuse forearm compartment syndrome. If they haven't, go to someone else, or you'll end up with an unnecessary operation. (Note that the operation might, ironically, fix the problem, because it will stop you paddling and start you again more cautiously!) Also note that some paddlers do genuinely have carpal tunnel and do need the operation, but they need to be assessed by a practitioner who is aware of both syndromes and able to distinguish between them.

Past skis: Spirit PRS, EpicV10Sport Performance, Epic V10 Elite, Stellar SES Advantage. Current skis: Fenn Elite Spark, Fenn Swordfish vacuum. Custom Horizon, Epic V7

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8 years 8 months ago #20225 by owenw
Replied by owenw on topic Carpal tunnel blues
I had my RH CT op over 30 years ago. (I was a motor cycle moto-X rider then and it was a real problem as your throttle and front brake is operated by this hand.) About 10 years ago I had my LH CT done. Both times it took some months to be fully OK, but I have had no problems since (bar a little bit of residual numbness in my middle RH finger, probably from permanent damage done as I delayed getting the op done until I could stand it no longer).

Life truly lived is full of risk; to fence out risk is to fence out life itself

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8 years 8 months ago #20233 by kevin brunette
Replied by kevin brunette on topic Carpal tunnel blues
I concur with previous responses that you should attend to a carpal tunnel related injury in good time, because of the damage it does to the medial nerve.
12 months ago, I was not able to paddle hard for more than about ten minutes before my thumb, index and middle finger became seriously numb. It also affected my mountain biking.
Following carpal tunnel surgery, I could paddle at an easy pace at three months. At 6 months, I completed most of the local surfski series events, which for me is typically 90 minutes of hard paddling. At 12 months, I can paddle at pretty close to 100%.
Expect lots of rehab and slow recovery. You will have discomfort for some time, because many nerve endings are severed in surgery and because of the extensive scar tissue that is laid down. Although you can paddle, you will find it difficult to lift and carry a ski, and also place weight on your palm, which will inhibit actions such as remounting your craft. A plastic surgeon advised me that it could take 18 months for the scar tissue to heal.

FENN Bluefin, XT, Swordfish S
Author and publisher at South Easter Communications of books in the SURFSKI series, aimed at recreational to advanced paddlers. Look at the Facebook page Surfski know-how and visit www.lulu.com/spotlight/southeastercommunications

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