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Carpal Tunnel, does it cause swelling?

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Hi everyone,


I have suspected Carpal tunnel in both hands/wrists, and I have due to have nerve conduction/electrode test on June 27th.

I have also had cortisone injections in January, which did not help the pain in my hands.


I have recently for the last 4 weeks had very intense pain in the inside of my left wrist.

For a while I felt like I had badly strained or even broken something.

I told my general practitioner who told me to talk to the rheumatologist, but I haven't been able to get back in to see him as he is booked until my next appointment in July.


I have been wearing my braces on my wrists at night, but it doesn't seem to help, when I take them off in the morning my wrist is stiff and sore and has a sharp pain in it.


The pain has eased a little over the last 2 weeks but the inside of my wrist is still very sore and tender and now I have noticed it is swollen.

I have trouble when I am using my first 3 fingers, especially my middle finger if that happens to bend back a little I get intense shooting pain through the bone in my wrist.

My wrist now feels like it has crushed glass in it, which leads me to think that perhaps it is not carpal tunnel but some arthritis or perhaps a bone spur?


I know the first 3 fingers usually relate to carpal tunnel, but I also get numbness and tingling in my little finger too, plus sore elbow joints and shoulder muscles.


I am not really sure of my question after writing all of this :) but I guess, do you think it is more arthritis related or carpal tunnel symptoms?


I also have trouble with my left thumb it is often swollen and stiff as is my middle finger, but I have had those problems for over a year.


I have never had an xray of my hands, so perhaps I should ask my general practitioner or order one?


thanks for listening to my ramblings.



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Irene, of course I am not a doctor, but your symptoms sound very similar to what I had been dealing with. Is there a reason you aren't wearing your braces during the day? I had to wear mine 24/7. I could only take mine off to shower. I had extra large vinyl gloves to do dishes and other chores in. Maybe you are having extra pain because you are not wearing your wrist guards enough. The guards are uncomfortable but you need to keep those wrists immobilized as much as possible. Keep us informed on what is happening.

Strength and Warmth,



Sheryl Doom

ISN Support Specialist

(Retired) ISN Chat Moderator

International Scleroderma Network (ISN)

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Hi Irene,


I'm sorry you are having carpal-tunnel type symptoms. There's simply no way for us to discern what the cause is, of course. Nor can we precisely say what sort of tests are needed for your condition.


So I would really urge you to discuss these concerns with your general practitioner, and to get a second opinion if you doubt the diagnosis or treatment plan. Especially you might ask for a referral to an orthopedist or to a physical therapist if you haven't already seen one (rather than waiting forever for the rheumatologist, who would probably value the information gleaned from those specialists, anyway.)


You mention you've been wearing braces, but is that under the guidance of a physical therapist? If they are the wrong type, or too tight, they can cause even more damage to a delicate joint! Thus, it would be particularly important to see an orthopedist or, at least, a physical or occupational therapist, and to use any braces only with medical guidance.


For further info see our Joint Inflammation and Carpal Tunnel section.

Warm Hugs,


Shelley Ensz

Founder and President

International Scleroderma Network (ISN)

Hotline and Donations: 1-800-564-7099


The most important thing in the world to know about scleroderma is sclero.org.

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Thanks Shelley and Sheryl for your replies.


I am seeing my general practitioner in the morning to discuss all of this with her.


To answer your questions. My general practitioner referred to a hand therapist a year ago with Carpal tunnel symptoms, she gave me some exercises to do and was also the one who gave me the braces to wear.

She told me to wear them at night, and during the day if I am able.

I only saw her 3 times, and she said she could do no more for me, and said she felt that I didn't have true Carpal Tunnel, and thought I needed to see a different specialist.

As my symptoms stabilized for a while I never got referred.


I wear them at night and do wear them during the day occasionally but find there are certain things I can't do with them on, and probably take them off more than I am supposed to.


Shelley your right, I think I will ask my general practitioner to refer me on to a specialist to get a proper look at my hands, it has gone on too long really, and the pain is now extending up the inside of my forearm, so something is not right.


Thanks again for your quick replies,

The support means a lot.



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