Loading icon
Press enter or spacebar to select a desired language.
Health Information Center

Diagnosis of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

  • Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
Publication Type:

Condition InDepth

Diagnosis of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

The doctor will ask about symptoms and health history. An exam will be done. It will look for signs of nerve problems in the wrists and hands.

These tests may also be done:

  • Nerve conduction study—to measure the speed and strength of electrical activity in the median nerve. A small shock is passed through the nerve to see if impulses slow down in the carpal tunnel.
  • Electromyogram (EMG)—to measure and record a muscle's electrical activity. Muscles send signals that are not normal when the nerves attached to them are not working the right way.
  • Ultrasound—to take images to look for problems with the median nerve.


  • Carpal tunnel syndrome. American Society for Surgery of the Hand website. Available at: https://handcare.assh.org/Anatomy/Details-Page/ArticleID/27950/Carpal-Tunnel-Syndrome. Accessed May 3, 2022.
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/carpal-tunnel-syndrome. Accessed May 3, 2022.
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome fact sheet. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website. Available at: http://www.ninds.nih.gov/health-information/patient-caregiver-education/fact-sheets/carpal-tunnel-syndrome-fact-sheet. Accessed May 3, 2022.
  • Clinical Practice Guideline on Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: https://www.aaos.org/quality/quality-programs/upper-extremity-programs/carpal-tunnel-syndrome. Accessed May 3, 2022.


  • James P. Cornell, MD
Last Updated:

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.