Oedema causing CTS?


I would appreciate some help with my diagnosis.

Since having my daughter just over a year ago I have struggled to lose weight (still carrying 10 kilograms or 22 pounds). Right at the end of my pregnancy I got mild CTS in the right hand. About 2 months ago my joints, so hands, ankles, feet and knees got really painful and stiff all of a sudden. At that time I was sufferring from Tonsilitis and I had a sore wrist from carrying my daughter so doctor suggested Voltaren. I had never taken it before and a few days later is when I got my swelling. I didn't do much for a while thinking I was just tired and overworked. I then noticed that I had fluid retention and I started get CTS symptoms in both hands - pins and needles, numbness, pain in elbow up to shoulder and neck and waking up constantly at night.

It is so sore now and I struggle to put on my undergarmets and tight pants. It takes me a while to get things moving in the mornings too. I saw my GP and she told me it was because of my weight and the Oedema was causing the CTS. She suggested I lose weight and try to do things to lose the fluid retention.

Is it true that generalised swelling can cause CTS and if I lose the weight and the swelling reduces the CTS will also disappear? I am really hoping this is the case as when I was pregnant and had the CTS it was because of severe fluid retention and swelling. I am also wondering whether the voltaren could have caused the swelling and oedema.


CTS certainly gets commoner the heavier you are so losing weight may help. I am less convinced by the 'fluid retention' story which appears in a lot of the textbooks as I don't really see why excess water should collect in your carpal tunnels when there are lots of easier places for it to accumulate. Pain and stiffness of multiple joints may be an indiactor of other problems and is worth investigating if it is causing problems - is the stiffness worse int e morning and if so how long does it take to wear off?

I don't know about Voltaren (sounds as though it might be an Australian name for what is knows an Voltarol here in the UK, though I haven't looked it up to check) - you would need to search out the manufacturers data sheet online for a list of known side-effects and reactions.

When there are other symptoms present which are not typical of CTS, such as the stiffness, it is usually worth getting some nerve conduction studies done just to be sure of the diagnosis and to act as a baseline for future comparison. JB

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