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Health

I have fat knuckles and numb fingers

I mentioned a while back that I’ve been getting the symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: sporadic numbness in my hands, and a feeling that can only be described as “fat knuckles”. My hands feel big and bloated and slow. It’s not very pleasant.

I don’t know if it *is* CTS, but the doctor thinks it might be. As does the physiotherapist I was referred to.

My physio suspected it’s gym-related rather than PC-related and instituted a lifting-weights ban, and he also told me to wear wrist splints in bed so I don’t bend my wrists in my sleep. Neither appears to have made any difference. I’ve massively reduced the amount of time I spend on the PC (hence sporadic blogging) and using the iPhone, I’ve seriously cut down my Xbox use and so on, but the symptoms persist. They’re at their worst whenever I have to make a pinching shape, such as when I’m holding a book or magazine.

Incidentally, I think stopping smoking may have caused it – or at least, the weight I’ve put on since stopping smoking. I’ve seen a few studies suggesting that being overweight significantly increases the likelihood of CTS, and while I’m hardly obese I managed to gain an extra two stones of weight in six months. That was going down again until the weight-lifting ban. I swear to God, everything’s gone to shit since I binned the cigs.

Anyway. My understanding of CTS is that the next step is probably surgery, but I’m hearing wildly varying accounts of whether such surgery works even for a short time. As you can probably imagine, I’m not keen on getting stabbed if it’s not going to fix the problem – and even then, only as a last resort.

At the risk of inviting snake oil salesmen to flood the blog, do any of you have experience of, or know anybody who’s had experience of, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome? I’d appreciate any tips.