Mayo Clinic doctors who have training in neuromuscular disorders (neurologists) and other doctors diagnose carpal tunnel syndrome.
Your doctor will review your symptoms and perform a physical examination. Your doctor will test for feeling in your fingers and strength in your hand muscles. During the physical examination, your doctor may put pressure on the median nerve at your wrist by bending your wrist, tapping on the nerve or pressing on the nerve, which often brings on tingling of one or more of the fingers that is supplied by the median nerve.
Your doctor may order tests to diagnose carpal tunnel syndrome, to test the severity of your condition or to check for other conditions that may mimic carpal tunnel syndrome. Usually you'll undergo these tests during your initial evaluation.
Tests may include:
Feb. 22, 2011
- Nerve conduction study. Nerve conduction studies measure the strength of muscle contraction by stimulating nerves with a small electrical impulse applied to your skin. This test shows whether the electrical impulses traveling along the median nerve in your hand are slowed in the carpal tunnel.
- Electromyogram. An electromyogram measures electrical activity within muscles. This test may help to determine if you have muscle damage.
- Carpal tunnel syndrome fact sheet. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/carpal_tunnel/detail_carpal_tunnel.htm. Accessed Dec. 20, 2010.
- Carpal tunnel syndrome. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=a00005. Accessed Dec. 20, 2010.
- Carpal tunnel syndrome. American Society for Surgery of the Hand. http://www.assh.org/Public/HandConditions/Pages/CarpalTunnelSyndrome.aspx. Accessed Dec. 20, 2010.
- Scott KR, et al. Etiology of carpal tunnel syndrome. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Dec. 20, 2010.
- Wright PE. Carpal tunnel, ulnar tunnel, and stenosing tenosynovitis. In: Canale ST, et al. Campbell's Operative Orthopaedics. 11th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2008. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/page.do?eid=4-u1.0-B978-0-323-03329-9..50076-3&isbn=978-0-323-03329-9&type=bookPage§ionEid=4-u1.0-B978-0-323-03329-9..50076-3--cesec9&uniqId=230418749-3. Accessed Dec. 20, 2010.
- Clinical practice guideline on the diagnosis of carpal tunnel syndrome. Rosemont, Ill.: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. http://www.aaos.org/research/guidelines/CTS_guideline.pdf. Accessed Dec. 21, 2010.
- Clinical practice guideline on the treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome. Rosemont, Ill.: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. http://www.aaos.org/research/guidelines/CTSTreatmentGuideline.pdf. Accessed Dec. 21, 2010.
- Scott KR, et al. Treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Dec. 21, 2010.
- Amadio PC (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Dec. 21, 2010.