What is carpal tunnel steroid injection?

Updated: May 31, 2018
  • Author: Samir Shah, MD; Chief Editor: Meda Raghavendra (Raghu), MD  more...
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Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a common mononeuropathy due to entrapment of the median nerve in the carpal tunnel. Symptoms include hand paresthesia, numbness, and pain in the median nerve distribution of the hand. Conservative treatment options, in addition to carpal tunnel steroid injection, include rest, splinting, oral steroids, ultrasound, yoga, physical therapy, and ergonomic modification. [1] Surgical intervention is reserved for severe symptoms.

Clinical testing for carpal tunnel syndrome includes the Tinel test, which is performed by lightly tapping the median nerve eliciting paresthesia in the nerve distribution of the hand. Additional testing includes the Phalen test, which increases pressure in the carpal tunnel by forced wrist flexion for several minutes.

Carpal tunnel steroid injection has been shown to reduce short-term symptoms prior to definitive surgical intervention. Local steroid injection and surgical decompression both are effective treatments at 2-year follow-up, with surgical intervention having some additional benefit. [2]

Electrodiagnositc studies such as nerve conduction studies and electromyography can be used to determine median nerve compression severity.

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