No advantage from splinting the wrist after open carpal tunnel release. A randomized study of 82 wrists

Acta Orthop Scand. 1999 Jun;70(3):288-92. doi: 10.3109/17453679908997810.


To study the value of postoperative splinting after open carpal tunnel surgery, we randomly selected 82 wrists for 4 weeks of postoperative immobilization or no immobilization. The distributions of scar discomfort or pain and "pillar pain" were equal in the two groups both at 6 weeks and 6 months. Median sick leave was 6 weeks in both groups. Median VAS values for persistent discomfort and pain at 2 weeks, 6 weeks and 6 months were similar in the two groups. Grip strength was reduced compared to preoperative values by about 20% and keypinch strength by about 10% in both groups at 6 weeks and had returned to normal by 6 months. Pinch between the thumb and the tips of fingers 4 and 5 was considerably reduced postoperatively, but similar in both groups. We conclude that 4 weeks of postoperative immobilization confers no detectable benefit.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Absenteeism
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome / rehabilitation*
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome / surgery*
  • Female
  • Hand Strength
  • Humans
  • Immobilization* / adverse effects
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain Measurement
  • Pain, Postoperative / diagnosis
  • Pain, Postoperative / etiology
  • Postoperative Care / methods*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Splints*
  • Time Factors