How to Diagnose Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Friday, 27 May 2011 12:13 PM

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Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is diagnosed best by considering the patient’s description of symptoms and by electrodiagnostic tests, which measure nerve conduction through the wrist.

The patient’s history is an important consideration when diagnosing CTS.
Physical diagnosis of CTS includes examining hands, shoulders, and neck in order to locate pain, swelling, tenderness, and discoloration. The pinch or grip strength and the wrist’s range of motion are also examined.

In order to diagnose CTS, sensory examination (e.g., Semmes-Weinstein monofilament) is carried out, and manual testing of the upper extremity is performed (particularly the thenar muscle group is examined for muscular atrophy).

Each finger is tested individually, and also the muscles underlying them.
Provocative tests also help diagnose CTS. These tests include Phalen’s test, reverse Phalen’s test (Prayer test), and median nerve compression test.

Electrodiagnostic tests may have to be performed to correctly diagnose CTS, as the syndrome is not always successfully diagnosed by physical examination. Electrodiagnostic tests for CTS diagnosis involve placing electrodes on hand and wrist and applying small electric shocks in order to measure the speed with which electricity is conducted through the nerves.
Ultrasound imaging is another diagnostic tool used for carpal tunnel syndrome diagnosis.

For more information on CTS, see below:

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: Symptoms and Treatment

Treatment for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: How Your Diet Plays a Role

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: Latest Medical Breakthroughs


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