Comprehensive Care

MedStar Orthopaedic Institute is home to an experienced team of hand and wrist experts who provide comprehensive hand and wrist care for any condition. All of our hand surgeons are fellowship-trained and focus exclusively on upper extremity conditions. We are the prime referral center for the most complex orthopedic hand conditions in Washington, D.C., and we perform thousands of hand surgeries each year.

Our dedicated team of doctors will always take time to talk with you about your specific condition, answer all of your questions, and explain your treatment options. We recommend conservative treatment options whenever possible. But if needed, we provide the most advanced surgery available.

What is carpal tunnel syndrome?

The carpal tunnel is a space in the wrist where a nerve and nine tendons pass from the forearm into the hand. The syndrome is a type of hand nerve entrapment that occurs when swelling in the tunnel compresses the median nerve.

What are the causes?

Genetics are thought to play a role and this condition is common in people who perform repetitive wrist and hand motions, including the following:

  • Typing on a computer keyboard
  • Gripping tightly
    • Cyclists
    • Meat cutters
  • Using wrists consistently
    • Cashiers
    • Musicians

What are the symptoms?

As a result of the pressure on the median nerve, patients with carpal tunnel syndrome may experience symptoms including:

  • Numbness and tingling in the fingers
  • Night-time awakening because of tingling and pain
  • Pain in the hand and fingers, that can radiate up the arm
  • Sensation that the hand is swollen, even if it is not
  • Weakened grip and difficulty picking up small items
  • Problems with fine finger movements in one or both hands

How is it diagnosed?

The orthopedic surgeons at MedStar Orthopaedic Institute are experts at diagnosing carpal tunnel syndrome. Our initial exam serves to rule out other possible causes of your pain and determine the best relief options. Our team will generally perform the following during your exam:

  • Medical history evaluation – This includes asking questions about when your pain began and where the pain feels most severe. Other questions may be about whether you have other medical problems, and if you take any medications.
  • Physical exam – Your orthopedist will carefully examine your hand and press the affected nerve to test your response.
  • Electrophysiological tests – Your doctor can confirm a diagnosis by sending small electric shocks into the affected area to see how the nerve responds.
  • Imaging tests – In some cases, your orthopedist may want to examine the bones in your wrist more carefully using X-rays.

What are the best treatment options?

Many nonsurgical courses of treatment for are available, such as:

  • Splints or braces to immobilize and rest the wrist
  • Adjustments to how you perform daily activities
  • Oral anti-inflammatory medications
  • Steroid injections

If nonsurgical treatment is not successful or treatment is sought too late, surgery may be required. Carpal tunnel release surgery involves enlarging the carpal tunnel, which will relieve the swelling and pressure on the nerve.


If you believe you may be suffering from this condition, call 202-295-0511 to schedule a consultation with one of our orthopedic specialists at MedStar Orthopaedic Institute. Our doctors have years of experience diagnosing and treating hand and wrist conditions in the Washington, D.C. area.


3800 Reservoir Road Northwest Washington, DC, 20007
Phone: 202-444-8766
18109 Prince Philip Drive, Suite 325 Olney, MD, 20832
Phone: 301-774-8958
106 Irving Street Northwest, Washington, DC, 20010
Phone: 202-877-6000
1120 20th Street Northwest, Building 1 South Washington, DC, 20036
Phone: 202-416-2000
13950 Brandywine Road, 2nd Floor Brandywine, MD, 20613
Phone: 301-856-1682
5454 Wisconsin Avenue, 11th Floor Chevy Chase, MD, 20815
Phone: 301-215-9423
6355 Walker Lane, Suite 501 Alexandria, VA, 22310
Phone: 703-971-3701
12825 Minnieville Road, Suite 203 Woodbridge, VA, 22192
Phone: 703-971-3701
11325 Pembrooke Square, Suite 115 Waldorf, MD, 20603
Phone: 301-856-1682