Treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome with nerve and tendon gliding exercises

Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 2002 Feb;81(2):108-13. doi: 10.1097/00002060-200202000-00006.


Objective: To assess the effect of nerve and tendon gliding exercises in carpal tunnel syndrome.

Design: The study was a prospective, randomized, before-and-after treatment trial. A total of 28 patients with the diagnosis of carpal tunnel syndrome in 36 hands were randomly assigned to two groups. A custom made neutral volar wrist splint was given to group 1 and group 2. The patients were instructed to wear the splints all night and during the day as much as possible for 4 wk. The patients in group 2 were also instructed to perform series of nerve and tendon gliding exercises in addition to the splint treatment. Patients were evaluated with clinical parameters, a functional status scale, and a symptom severity scale.

Results: At the end of treatment, statistically significant improvement was obtained in all parameters in both groups. The improvement in group 2 was slightly greater, but the difference between the groups was not significant, except for the lateral pinch strength value. Patient satisfaction was investigated during the follow-up period, ranging from 5 to 11 mo, with a mean of 8 mo. A total of 72% of the patients in group 1 and 93% of the patients in group 2 reported good or excellent results. The difference between the two groups was not statistically significant.

Conclusion: Although the results in group 2 were better than group 1, the difference was not statistically significant. Further investigations are required to establish the role of nerve and tendon gliding exercises in the treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome / diagnosis
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome / rehabilitation*
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Exercise Therapy / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain Measurement
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Prospective Studies
  • Recovery of Function
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Splints
  • Tendons / physiopathology
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Ulnar Nerve / physiopathology