Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Exams and Tests
Carpal tunnel syndrome is usually diagnosed using:
- Medical history. The doctor will ask about any medical problems or illnesses, prior injuries, current symptoms, or daily activities that may be causing your symptoms.
- Hand diagram. You may be asked to help fill in a diagram of your hand to show where you have numbness, tingling, or pain.
- Reference Physical exam, including comparing the strength of both hands.
If your symptoms are severe, if nonsurgical treatment has not improved symptoms, or if your symptoms aren't clearly caused by carpal tunnel syndrome, your doctor may recommend:
- Reference Nerve testing, which checks the median nerve.
- Reference X-rays. These can check for bone problems caused by past injury, Reference arthritis Opens New Window, recently broken or dislocated bones, or tumors. X-rays aren't used to diagnose carpal tunnel syndrome. But they can be helpful for finding signs of arthritis or an old or new wrist or neck injury that may be adding to your symptoms.
- Reference Ultrasound Opens New Window, to look at the size of the median nerve. It is inexpensive, comfortable, and quick. But its use for carpal tunnel syndrome diagnosis is still unproven and fairly uncommon.
- Reference MRI Opens New Window. This imaging test can find swelling of the median nerve, narrowing of the carpal tunnel, or problems with circulation of blood through the carpal tunnel.
- Blood tests. These are sometimes done to check for a Reference thyroid problem Opens New Window, Reference rheumatoid arthritis Opens New Window, or another medical problem.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference October 2, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Reference Herbert von Schroeder, MD, MSc, FRCSC - Hand and Microvascular Surgery