Health Library

Carpal Tunnel Injection

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 medications you take and if you have any allergies to medications.

Anesthesia

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.

Resources

American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons
http://orthoinfo.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

The 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. 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%5Ftunnel/detail%5Fcarpal%5Ftunnel.htm. 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: http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/drugs-procedures-devices/procedures-devices/joint-and-soft-tissue-injections.html . Accessed September 9, 2014.