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Doctor Makes Amazing Discovery About Carpal Tunnel After Breaking His Own Shoulders

Dec 15, 2016 10:18 PM EST
Typing Can Be Hazardous
The study found that people recovered their pre-operative typing speed two to three weeks after surgery.
(Photo : Michael Smith/Getty Images)

People suffering from carpal tunnel can tell you how horrible and debilitating it can be. Imagine always being bugged by that uncomfortable numbness or pain in your wrist, or even worse, losing the ability to type.

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke defines the carpal tunnel syndrome as condition where the median nerve, which is responsible for sensations to the palm side of the thumb and fingers (excluding the little finger), as well as impulses to some small muscles in the hand that allow the fingers and thumb to move, is pressed or squeezed at the wrist. This results to pain, weakness, and numbness in your hand and wrist, and as it gets worse, up to your arm.

Some of the early stage symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome include frequent burning, tingling, itching numbness in the palm of the hand and the fingers, especially the thumb and the index and middle fingers.

Adding salt to injury, what if you broke a shoulder and had to go through surgery, too?

This is exactly what happened to Gordon Logan, Centennial Professor of Psychology at Vanderbilt University. But in a bizarre twist, this is also how he made an amazing discovery that would lead to his recovery from the dreaded carpal tunnel syndrome.

In 2009, Logan put a stool on top of a chair to change a light bulb. The arrangement was unsteady and caused him to fall, badly injuring his shoulder. "I had to have my shoulder replaced. So I saw my orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Donald Lee, many times in the next few months," an article by Vanderbilt News stated.

Dr. Lee, a professor of orthopedics and rehabilitation at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center, happens to be an expert on hand and shoulder surgery. In a serendipitous turn of events, the Logan and Lee decided to conduct an experiment to evaluate how quickly patients recover their typing speed after going through carpal tunnel release surgery.

The results of the study are published online in the paper titled "The Effect of Carpal Tunnel Release on Typing Performance" in The Journal of Hand Surgery.

"We found that people recovered their pre-operative typing speed two to three weeks after surgery," Logan said. "This provides a benchmark for recovery that prospective patients can consider in deciding whether to have surgery or when to have it."

"Since we found that patients regain their typing ability relatively quickly, we now allow them to go back to typing relatively early," shared Lee. "They may not be able to type for several hours at a time, but we don't necessarily restrict them from typing around two to three weeks post op," Eureka Alert reported.

"I know it's hard to believe," said Logan, "but I actually managed to get a paper out of a broken shoulder!"

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