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Definition

A carpal tunnel injection delivers corticosteroid medicine into the carpel tunnel in the wrist.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

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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 three months or longer.

Possible Complications

Problems are rare, all procedures have risk. Some problems may be:

  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • 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.

Anesthesia

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.

Post-procedure Care

At the Care Center

The injection site will be bandaged.

At Home

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.

RESOURCES:

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
http://www.ninds.nih.gov

Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons
http://orthoinfo.aaos.org

CANADIAN RESOURCES:

The Arthritis Society of Canada
http://www.arthritis.ca

The College of Family Physicians of Canada
http://www.cfpc.ca

REFERENCES:

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: 9/23/2019