Skip to content

    Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Health Center

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    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.
    • Physical exam, including comparing the strength of both hands.

    More testing

    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:

    • Nerve testing, which checks the median nerve.
    • X-rays. These can check for bone problems caused by past injury, arthritis, 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.
    • Ultrasound, 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.
    • MRI. 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 thyroid problem, rheumatoid arthritis, or another medical problem.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: November 14, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
    Next Article:

    Today on WebMD

    illustration of nerves in hand
    Slideshow
    Elderly patient undergoing water therapy
    ARTICLE
     
    Nerve Pain Slideshow
    SLIDESHOW
    Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Symptoms
    Article
     
    neural fiber
    Video
    acupuncture needles in woman's back
    Slideshow
     
    Woman opening window
    Slideshow
    Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Surgery
    Article