A carpal tunnel injection is a corticosteroid injection into the carpel tunnel area of the wrist.
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The median nerve runs from the forearm into the hand. Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when this nerve is squeezed at the wrist as it runs through the carpel tunnel. This results in pain, weakness, tingling, or numbness in your hand and wrist. Pain may also radiate up your arm.
Steroid injections into the carpel tunnel area can help improve symptoms for 3 months or longer. You may not need further treatment.
Complications are rare, but no procedure is risk-free. Your doctor will review a list of possible complications which may include:
Your doctor may ask you what medications you take and if you have any allergies to medications.
You will be given an injection of local anesthetic to numb the area.
A needle will be filled with corticosteroid medication. This medication calms inflammation. Your palm will be facing upward. The inside of your wrist will be cleaned. The needle will be inserted into the carpal tunnel area of the wrist, and the medication will be injected.
A few minutes
You may feel some pain after the anesthetic wears off.
The injection site will be bandaged. You and your doctor will discuss what to expect in the coming days.
When you return home:
After arriving home, contact your doctor if any of the following occur:
If you think you have an emergency, call for emergency medical services right away.
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons
The Arthritis Society of Canada
The College of Family Physicians of Canada
Carpal tunnel steroid injection. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated February 8, 2014. Accessed September 9, 2014.
Carpal tunnel syndrome fact sheet. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website. Available at: http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/carpal_tunnel/detail_carpal_tunnel.htm. Updated September 5, 2014. Accessed September 9, 2014.
Cardone DA, Tallia AF. Joint and soft tissue injection. Am Fam Physician. 2002;66(2):283-289.
Last reviewed September 2016 by Teresa Briedwell, PT, DPT, OCS, CSCS Last Updated: 9/9/2014