What are the treatment options for carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS)?

Carpal tunnel syndrome will gradually worsen over time if not properly treated. It is important to be diagnosed and begin treatment as early as possible to avoid progression and further complications.
Treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome is broken into nonsurgical treatments and surgical treatments. Nonsurgical treatments tend to focus on slowing the progression of the condition and treating symptoms, while surgical treatments focus on fixing the root of the problem by expanding the carpal tunnel.
Nonsurgical treatment options include:
  • Wearing a brace/splint: This will prevent any bending of the wrist during sleep which tends to aggravate the condition and can cause you to awaken.
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs): such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen can reduce inflammation in the short-term but do not slow the progress of carpal tunnel syndrome in the long-term
  • Avoid activities which aggravate symptoms
  • Corticosteroid injections: Cortisone injections can help reduce inflammation in the carpal tunnel much more powerfully than NSAIDs, but often only work temporarily
Surgical treatment options include:
  • Open surgery: Termed "open carpal tunnel release," this surgery consists of a surgeon making an incision in the palm of your hand to view the carpal tunnel. He/she will then cut the roof of the carpal tunnel with the intention that when this ligament regrows, there will be more space inside the tunnel.
  • Endoscopic surgery: Termed "endoscopic carpal tunnel release," this surgery begins with two small incisions on the skin (called portals) through which the doctor inserts a small camera to view your carpal tunnel. A small knife is then inserted through the second incision to cut the roof of the carpal tunnel with the same intention as in open surgery. This surgery option is attractive because it comes with a less painful recovery and smaller scars.
carpal tunnel surgery

  • "Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Symptoms, Treatment & More." Cleveland Clinic, my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/4005-carpal-tunnel-syndrome.
  • Jennings, Charles D, and Katherine Faust. "Carpal Tunnel Syndrome - Symptoms and Treatment - OrthoInfo - AAOS." OrthoInfo - AAOS, July 2016, orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases--conditions/carpal-tunnel-syndrome/.



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