A carpal tunnel injection delivers corticosteroid medicine into the carpel tunnel in the wrist.
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Reasons for Procedure
The injection is done to ease pain and swelling in people with carpal tunnel syndrome. This is when the carpal tunnel is not wide enough and squeezes the median nerve that runs inside of it.
The injection may ease symptoms for 3 months or longer.
Problems are rare, and all procedures have risk. Some problems may be:
- Injury to the carpal tunnel
What to Expect
Prior to Procedure
Talk to your doctor about the medicines, herbs, and supplements you take. Tell the doctor if you have any allergies.
A local anesthetic will be given. The area will be numbed.
Description of the Procedure
A needle will be filled with corticosteroid medicine. You will be asked to place your palm facing up. The inside of your wrist will be cleaned. The needle will be inserted into the carpal tunnel of the wrist. The medicine will be injected.
How Long Will It Take?
A few minutes
Will It Hurt?
You may feel discomfort when the needle goes in. Medicine may be given to manage any pain that happens after.
At the Care Center
The injection site will be bandaged.
Do not do any difficult activities with your hand for the next 48 hours.
Call Your Doctor
Call your doctor if you are not getting better or you have:
- Signs of infection, such as fever and chills
- Redness, swelling, more pain, bleeding, or any discharge from the injection site
- Pain that you cannot control with medicine
- New or worsening symptoms
If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help 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
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS). Clinical Practice Guideline on the Treatment of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. AAOS 2016 Feb PDF.
Carpal tunnel steroid injection. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:https://www.dynamed.com/condition/carpal-tunnel-syndrome. Updated June 24, 2019. Accessed September 23, 2019.
Carpal tunnel syndrome. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:https://www.dynamed.com/condition/carpal-tunnel-syndrome. Updated June 24, 2019. Accessed September 23, 2019.
Carpal tunnel syndrome fact sheet. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website. Available at: https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/Patient-Caregiver-Education/Fact-Sheets/Carpal-Tunnel-Syndrome-Fact-Sheet. Updated August 13, 2019. Accessed September 23, 2019.
Last reviewed September 2019 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Teresa Briedwell, PT, DPT, OCS, CSCS Last Updated: 9/18/2020