Darlene Miller and her daughter Katharyne

Handling Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: Darlene's Story

Early this year, 79-year-old Darlene Miller (pictured above, left) of Osawatomie began experiencing pain and numbness in her hands. Some mornings, her hands felt so weak that it made it difficult to hold even half a cup of coffee.

"Mom's hands are better than mine now! And she can draw again."

Darlene’s daughter and caregiver, Katharyne Swan, (pictured above, right) watched her mom struggle with many tasks of daily living like getting dressed and using utensils to feed herself. “Eventually, the pain became so intense that my mom lost the ability to draw, a hobby she has enjoyed for years,” Katharyne said. “That really broke my heart.”

Christopher C. Eckland, DO, an orthopedic and sports medicine specialist with Olathe Health Johnson County Orthopedics and Sports Medicine – Paola, diagnosed Darlene with carpal tunnel syndrome. Millions of Americans suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome.

“For mild cases of carpal tunnel syndrome, we may treat patients with braces, medicines, injections, exercises or lifestyle modifications,” Dr. Eckland said. “When patients like Darlene have more moderate-to-severe cases, surgery is sometimes the best answer.”

Dr. Eckland performed a surgery called carpal tunnel release on both of Darlene’s hands at Miami County Medical Center.

This outpatient surgery involves releasing the pressure on the median nerve in the wrist through a small incision in the palm.

“After surgery, I tell my patients they can plan to have some use of their hand within a week or two, but expect to regain full use about six to 10 weeks after surgery,” Dr. Eckland said. “Surgery results for most patients is usually quite good.”

Within a few weeks of her surgery, Darlene’s pain, weakness and numbness had improved significantly.

“Mom’s hands are better than mine now!” Katharyne laughed. “She can draw again, which is wonderful. And now every morning she fills her giant coffee mug to the brim and holds it herself, no problem.”

Darlene and her family are grateful for the level of care and attention they’ve received throughout her mother’s treatment.

“Every single person we encountered at Miami County Medical Center and at Dr. Eckland’s office treated us so well, and did everything they could to ensure we were comfortable and informed every step of the way.”

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Eckland, please call 913-557-3800.

 

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