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Mechanism behind carpal tunnel syndrome

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I’m having more and more problems with my hands during night time; the problems come as two parts: swelling and numbness. The swelling is my fingers being swollen in the night and the morning, problem to make a fist. But does not hurt. The other part is numbness which is very much like carpal tunnel syndrome because my fingers get numb, mostly the little finger and the ring finger, just like the symptom picture for carpal tunnel. Sometimes also other fingers such as thumb and index. However, I have had this checked (because I keep waking up a lot!! And need to exercise my hands) and performed all sorts of physiological tests, but everything seems normal. So I’m thinking the mechanism might be different from the carpal tunnel people without SScl get. Could it be that the latter is due to vessel leakage and the former due to compression of nerve due to tightness of the tunnel from other reasons?

I’m wondering because carpal tunnel surgery probably will not help me if the cause is different from regular carpal tunnel. No doctors seem to be able to provide an answer. Any experts out there? Theoretical or clinical?

Kind Regards

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Hi Inibini,


I can sympathise a bit, because in the beginning my hands were very painful and my fingers were very swollen. I spent an absolute fortune having all my rings made larger, only to have to have them altered again when, due to my taking prednisolone, my fingers went back down again.


I had bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome and had successful operations on them; in my case the carpal tunnel was entirely due to having scleroderma, so I would imagine that the operation for carpal tunnel is the same for people with or without scleroderma. However, I have no medical training and so therefore this is just my opinion.


The best person to advise you is your doctor/scleroderma expert.


Kind regards,

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My rheumatologist suggested that I put a good lotion on my hands; to use a large amount then put vinyl gloves before bed and keep them on night. They are much softer and my Raynaud's is much better also.


If I am going to be outside I put vinyl gloves under my knitted gloves and also wearing mittens. Between the two my hands stay nice and toasty warm.


Before I got scleroderma I worked in the cold, learning a lot about keeping warm.

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  • 1 year later...

Hi, I am being investigated for scleroderma after developing Raynaud's the last few weeks and now have very similar carpal tunnel symptoms with tingling and numbness in fingers and hand, also swelling in fingers.  

I am awaiting my ANA, which was slightly elevated a couple of years ago. Capillary test showed 1 isolated abnormality so doctor said normal. I am sure this is scleroderma. 

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