Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: John’s Story
Three years ago, John started experiencing a strange tingling in his fingers.
“I ignored it,” he remembers. “It felt weird but I could live with the tingling. But it started to become more of a nuisance. It spread up my forearms and I would wake up in the middle of the night and have to shake my arms out to relieve the discomfort.”
Gradually, John’s condition got worse. He stopped being able to feel his computer keyboard and his fingers became too numb to use a touchscreen. Simple tasks like flicking a lighter or removing a bottle cap became increasingly difficult.
He saw a neurologist who diagnosed him with severe carpal tunnel syndrome. John was told that he was at risk of losing full functionality of his hands, and was given wrist braces to wear nightly.
“The wrist braces made me feel like a gladiator – but they did nothing to relieve my discomfort,” says John. “So I learned I would need surgery on both hands.”
John was both relieved and nervous to be one of the first patients scheduled for surgery as Humber River Hospital’s Surgery Program resumed activity after the COVID-19 pause, with Dr. Olubukunola Ayeni.
As a Plastic Surgeon who specializes in hands, Dr. Ayeni treats many patients with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome like John, and hand trauma injuries that come through Humber’s Apotex Emergency Department.
“I enjoy hand surgery, because I like being able to restore my patients’ hand function,” says Dr. Ayeni. “Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common hand condition that usually results from a pinched nerve at the wrist. Most people feel like their hand is “ heavy” or “falls asleep” in the middle of the night or when they are driving. People describe having to “shake out their hands” to find some relief.”
“I definitely felt apprehensive about surgery, but my surgeon Dr. Ayeni was so engaging,” says John. “He created a light, comfortable atmosphere, even though we were all wearing masks. At no point did I feel like I was going to be lost in the system.”
John’s surgeries lasted only seven minutes each and he felt immediate relief. After years of learning to live with his pain, he was overjoyed to regain the use of his hands.
“Carpal tunnel syndrome is a very common problem with reliable treatment options including surgery,” says Dr. Ayeni. “It is always rewarding to hear patients report that they are able to resume the daily activities they enjoy following surgery.”
Now, with restored function in both of his hands, John has been the happiest to return to his favourite outdoors activities: hiking, backpacking, and fly-fishing. For the first time in years, he is holding a fishing rod with ease.
“Dr. Ayeni is one of a kind. He listened well, he asked pertinent questions, and his bedside manner is stellar,” says John. “And the difference has been amazing. I am so grateful that I can use my hands again.”