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Am Fam Physician. 2024;109(1):17-18

This clinical content conforms to AAFP criteria for CME.

Author disclosure: No relevant financial relationships.

Clinical Question

Are local corticosteroid injections into the carpal tunnel safe and effective for the treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS)?

Evidence-Based Answer

Local corticosteroid injection is effective for reducing symptoms and improving function and quality of life in patients with mild to moderate CTS, with benefits lasting up to six months. Patients who receive local corticosteroid injections have a reduced need for surgery at 12 months. Although serious adverse events have been reported, they are rare.1 (Strength of Recommendation: B, limited-quality patient-oriented evidence.)

Practice Pointers

CTS is the most common peripheral nerve entrapment syndrome worldwide, affecting 1% to 5% of the adult population.2,3 Common symptoms are numbness, tingling, and pain in the median nerve distribution. Treatment for CTS includes conservative modalities such as lifestyle modifications, splinting, oral corticosteroids, other oral medications, physical therapy, therapeutic ultrasound, and more invasive procedures such as injected corticosteroids and surgical decompression. This review evaluated the benefits of treating CTS with local corticosteroid injections.1

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These are summaries of reviews from the Cochrane Library.

This series is coordinated by Corey D. Fogleman, MD, assistant medical editor.

A collection of Cochrane for Clinicians published in AFP is available at

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