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Carpal Tunnel Injection

  • Definition

    A carpal tunnel injection is a corticosteroid injection into the carpel tunnel area of the wrist.
    Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
    Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.
  • 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 medications you take and if you have any allergies to medications.
    You will be given an injection of local anesthetic to numb the area.
    Description of the Procedure
    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.
    How Long Will It Take?
    A few minutes
    Will It Hurt?
    You may feel some pain after the anesthetic wears off.
    Post-procedure Care
    At the Care Center
    The injection site will be bandaged. You and your doctor will discuss what to expect in the coming days.
    At Home
    When you return home, take these steps:
    • Take over-the-counter pain medication.
    • Avoid strenuous activity involving the joint for 48 hours.
    • 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 medications you have been given
    In case of 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: Updated February 8, 2014. Accessed September 9, 2014.

    Carpal tunnel syndrome fact sheet. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website. Available at: Updated September 5, 2014. Accessed September 9, 2014.

    Cardone DA, Tallia AF. Joint and soft tissue injection. Am Fam Physician. 2002 Jul 15;66(2):283-289. Available at: . Accessed September 9, 2014.

    Revision Information

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