In the wrist and hand, there is a series of ligaments and connective tissue that make up what is called Guyon's canal, or Guyon's tunnel. This canal is the home of the ulnar nerve. According to Houston's Medicine, when Guyon's canal and the ulnar nerve is compressed, it is known as Guyon's Canal Syndrome. This
syndrome is similar to carpal tunnel syndrome and is often confused with it. Because the pain and the location of the tunnels both come from the ulnar side of the wrist, it is sometimes hard to distinguish between the two. Unlike the carpal tunnel, Guyon's canal does not have any tendons. Because of this unique difference, carpal tunnel syndrome has a completely different cause than Guyon's. Rather than inflammation and overuse being the cause of nerve compression, Guyon's is caused by external compressive forces on the base of the hand. That means that Guyon's is caused by external pressure while carpal tunnel is caused by internal pressures. Some things that can cause this external pressure is walking on crutches, using certain power tools, and participating in different athletic activities, like tennis, break dancing, and martial arts. There are no other characteristics that make a person more inclined to get Guyon's, such as age, gender, or race. This comes solely from the activities that are done and the frequency. This syndrome is fairly rare throughout the world.
Symptoms of Guyon's Canal Syndrome
There are various symptoms that come about from Guyon's Canal Syndrome. All symptoms are experienced in the left side of the hand and wrist and the pinky and ring finger, while carpal tunnel syndrome is on the right side and other three fingers. The most common is pain in the wrist that is aggravated by extension range of motion movements. Other symptoms include weakness of the wrist, worsened grip strength, lack of coordination with the hand and wrist, and clawing or atrophy of the hand, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information. A doctor can determine if the patient has this syndrome through medical examinations with different tests to check the quality of the wrist and hand and a detailed medical history.
Treatment of Guyon's Canal Syndrome
The best way to treat this is by reducing the outside pressure on the ulnar nerve, which means changing the lifestyle or the aspect that is putting pressure on the nerve. Another treatment to help the nerve tissue to heal is through massage. It is important to only use a light pressure on the hand, wrist, and forearm, but increasing the blood circulation has been known to help the tissue to heal faster. Too much pressure on the nerve can hinder the healing process or reaggravate symptoms. Before beginning any form of treatment, please consult your doctor and make sure it is the right plan for you. In extreme cases where damage to the nerve tissue is far too great, sometime surgery is required to help clear out any obstruction within the canal that is causing continued neuro-degeneration. This is very rare and most cases are effectively treated with a conservative regimen of treatments and lifestyle changes.
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