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Getty Images / carpal tunnel syndrome hands tile

Q: "I am going into retirement with a sore thumb and numb hand, what can I do to fix it doc?"

A: You may have noticed your hands starting to tingle more or fall asleep in the middle of the night throughout the years, thinking that it will just go away. The chances are that you are waking up late at night to a numb hand. Does this story seem familiar to you?

This is likely carpal tunnel syndrome. The carpal tunnel is where your median nerve and flexor hand tendons go through your volar wrist, and what happens is the space becomes smaller in carpal tunnel syndrome, and that leads to compression of the median nerve.

You also may have similar signs or symptoms if you're diabetic as well. It is of the utmost importance to see your primary care physician for a workup. If carpal tunnel, you might find relief in a carpal tunnel brace, which can be bought over the counter and should only be worn during the nighttime. This brace helps alleviate the symptoms of a numb hand during the night and day.

You then may also need to see a hand surgeon if symptoms persist and see a neurologist to check your nerves and see how they are functioning with a special test to make sure it is indeed carpal tunnel. And lastly, surgical intervention is an option to help reverse the numbness and tingling and get back to life and really start your retirement.

Dr. Ravi Viradia is a board-certified general surgeon, fellowship-trained hand surgeon and a plastic surgery fellow at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center at Chattanooga. He can be reached at rviradia1@gmail.com.

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Ravi Viradia
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