Chris Goll

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Chris Goll
Orthopedic Hand Surgery
Heekin Orthopedic Specialists
10475 Centurion Parkway Ste 220

I've seen some strange-looking computer keyboards around the office. These boards are actually split in half. I already have a wrist pad by my keyboard. Would it make a difference if I got one of the fancy new keyboards?

One of the benefits of split computer keyboards is that they help keep your wrists in line with your forearms. This alignment can help ease tension on the wrists and may help prevent wrist problems, such as wrist tendonitis and carpal tunnel syndrome.

A wrist pad can keep your hands at the same level as your wrists while you type, but it won't prevent your elbows from jutting outward. When your elbows are out, the line between your wrists and forearms gets thrown out of whack. A split computer keyboard is a helpful way to keep your wrists healthy while you work.

One doctor thinks the symptoms in my arm and hand are coming from carpal tunnel syndrome. Another says the problem is thoracic outlet syndrome. Who is right?

They both may be right. It is well documented that both conditions can happen at the same time. Both syndromes are caused by doing repeated activities with the hands and arms. And they both cause similar symptoms. One theory about why these conditions happen together is called the double crush phenomenon. Pressure at one end of the nerve path can set the stage for problems at the other end--a double crush. In this theory, pressure problems in the carpal tunnel in the hand can actually lead to problems at the other end of the nerve, near the thoracic outlet. The opposite is true too. Pressure near the thoracic outlet can end up causing problems of carpal tunnel syndrome at the other end of the nerve

How does arthritis in the hands cause carpal tunnel syndrome?

There are two kinds of arthritis: rheumatoid and degenerative. Both kinds can result in changes that lead to carpal tunnel syndrome. The carpal tunnel is an oval-shaped space in the wrist formed by bones and ligaments. The median nerve and tendons to the hand pass through this space. Anything that narrows the space can put pressure on the nerve and cause painful symptoms. In the case of rheumatoid arthritis, swelling from inflammation can do this. With degenerative arthritis, the bones in the wrist can form bone spurs. These can protrude into the tunnel and press against the nerve.

Chris Goll
Chris Goll

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