Losing your grip strength isn’t just a nuisance. It can pose safety issues when cooking or driving, for example. There are many possible underlying causes of decreased grip strength — including carpal tunnel syndrome — and seeking medical intervention is the first step in reclaiming your grip strength.
That’s just one of the many reasons why our team at Tuscaloosa Orthopedic & Joint Institute in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, encourages you to visit us if you’ve been losing your ability to grip objects. If you’ve noticed increasing weakness in your grip and tingling in your fingers, read on to see how our team 一 led by Dr. Bryan King 一 can help.
The first step in addressing a weakened grip is pinpointing what’s causing your symptoms. Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common culprit, but shoulder issues, inflammatory conditions including arthritis, and pinched nerves can also contribute to decreased grip strength.
That’s why we start with a thorough examination, a review of your symptoms, and an analysis of any imaging tests, such as X-rays. We may also order nerve conduction studies and electromyograms to determine the extent of any nerve damage.
You might suspect you have carpal tunnel syndrome if your weakened grip strength is accompanied by:
These symptoms 一 which you may notice more at night or when you first wake up 一 often start off as mild. Over time, however, your symptoms can worsen.
Alternatively, you may suspect that a joint condition, such as rheumatoid arthritis, is the source of your troubles if you have swollen or stiff joints, joint pain, and decreased range of motion.
Once we’ve confirmed which underlying cause is affecting your grip strength, we shape your treatment plan to help you address your goals.
For joint issues that affect your grip, we may recommend anti-inflammatory medication, physical therapy, or joint injections. Physical therapy is especially helpful as it can teach you the exercises you need to strengthen the muscles in your hand.
For carpal tunnel syndrome, our team provides both surgical and nonsurgical treatments. You may find that splints and steroid injections are enough to alleviate your symptoms. If not, we may recommend carpal tunnel release, a surgical procedure that releases the pressure on the median nerve that runs through your wrist.
Regardless of what’s causing your decreased grip strength, the only way to reclaim it is to address the underlying condition.
In most cases, waning grip strength is a result of aging or a condition such as carpal tunnel syndrome. However, sudden muscle weakness can be a sign of a medical emergency if it’s due to a stroke. Strokes can cause abrupt muscle weakness, loss of facial movement, trouble speaking, dizziness, and mental confusion.
If you experience sudden weakness and suspect it may be a sign of a stroke, call 9-1-1.
You don’t have to try to cope with decreased grip strength on your own. Come in to see the specialists at Tuscaloosa Orthopedic & Joint Institute to find out what’s causing your grip issues so you get the treatment you need. Call our office today for an appointment.