Health Information

Condition Detail

Definition

A carpal tunnel injection is a corticosteroid injection into the carpel tunnel area of the wrist.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
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Reasons for Procedure

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 three months or longer. You may not need further treatment.

Possible Complications

Complications are rare, but no procedure is risk-free. Your doctor will review a list of possible complications which may include:
  • Infection
  • No improvement in symptoms

What to Expect

Prior to Procedure

Your doctor may ask you what medicines you take and if you have any allergies to medicines.

Anesthesia

You will be given an injection of local anesthetic to numb the area.

Description of the Procedure

Your doctor will fill a needle with corticosteroid medicine. This medicine 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 medicine will be injected.

How Long Will It Take?

A few minutes

Will It Hurt?

You may feel some pain after the anesthetic wears off.

Post-procedure Care

Your doctor will bandage the injection site. You and your doctor will discuss what to expect in the coming days.
If recommended by your doctor:
  • Apply ice or a cold pack to the affected area for 15-20 minutes each time. Do not apply ice directly to your skin. First, wrap the ice or cold pack in a towel, then place it on your skin.
  • Take over-the-counter pain medicine.
  • Avoid strenuous activity involving joint for 48 hours
Ask your doctor about when it is safe to shower, bathe, or soak in water. Follow your doctor's instructions .

Call Your Doctor

After arriving home, contact your doctor if any of the following occurs:
  • Signs of infection, including fever and chills
  • Redness, swelling, increasing pain, excessive bleeding, or any discharge from the incision site
  • Pain that you cannot control with the medicines you have been given
In case of an emergency, call for medical help right away.

RESOURCES

American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons http://www.aaos.org/

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

CANADIAN RESOURCES

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

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

References

Carpal tunnel steroid injection. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php . Updated July 2009. Accessed August 8, 2009.

Carpal tunnel syndrome fact sheet. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website. Available at: http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/carpal%5Ftunnel/detail%5Fcarpal%5Ftunnel.htm . Accessed February 28, 2007.

Joint and soft tissue injections. American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: http://familydoctor.org/774.xml . Accessed February 28, 2007.

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