Guyon’s canal syndrome

One of the conditions best suited to laser therapy

This syndrome corresponds to a compression or irritation of the ulnar nerve at the level of the Guyon’s canal, located on the anterior surface of the wrist towards the fifth finger.

This condition is usually the result of a direct trauma to the hand or following a prolonged compression of the hand, such as in cyclists or golfers. Also, Guyon’s canal syndrome can occur as a result of repeated grasping movements along hand movements. This problem can also occur following a sustained position with the wrist bent.

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Structures involved

In the wrist, the ulnar nerve passes directly between the pisohamate ligament, which connects two carpal bones together, and the fascia of the palmaris brevis muscle located in the palm of the hand. These two structures together form Guyon’s canal. In addition to the ulnar nerve, the canal also contains the deep branch of the ulnar artery. The syndrome usually occurs when, for one reason or another, the space in Guyon’s canal is reduced and the ulnar nerve is compressed.

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Signs & Symptoms that you may experience

Guyon’s canal syndrome can cause, but is not limited to, numbness, tingling and loss of sensation in the fifth finger and half of the fourth. Atrophy of the hand muscles may also occur. During the night, you may experience pain and numbness from prolonged bending of the wrist. Symptoms are also exacerbated during repetitive activities involving wrist movements or prolonged pressure on the hand.

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Recovery

Your rehabilitation plan, health profile, fitness level and nutritional status affect the recovery time. Most of the time, you should recover completely from Guyon’s canal syndrome. This condition may take a few months to fully recover.

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▶​ ​WHAT TO DO

Early Stage

Relative rest is a good way to protect your Guyon’s canal syndrome and prevent your injury from getting worse, but it is important to avoid over-protecting it. A few days of rest by reducing activities that cause pain may be necessary. A quick return to your daily activities, light cardiovascular exercise and specific mobility and strengthening exercises will allow for better recovery.

Rehabilitation

Follow your therapist’s advice. This will help you manage the various stages of the healing process and increase the odds of successful rehabilitation. Your therapist will accompany you during your rehabilitation program to restore your joint range of motion, muscle strength and endurance, flexibility and functional status.

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Do not rely solely on a passive treatment approach. Each phase of the rehabilitation process is important. Patients who actively participate in their treatment plan tend to recover more quickly. As soon as you feel better and the pain is well under control, introduce, in collaboration with your therapist, mild strengthening exercises based on your tolerance.

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