Median nerve conduction has been compared in CTS, with or without diabetes, and diabetic polyneuropathy. Approximately 90% of hands were correctly predicted as CTS or diabetic polyneuropathy by a comparison including the median antidromic sensory nerve conduction velocities in the elbow-to-wrist segment, wrist-to-palm segment, palm-to-finger segment, and the amplitude of the sensory nerve action potential. CTS with diabetes could not be distinguished from CTS without diabetes. The association between proximal and distal nerve conduction velocities was similar in CTS and diabetic polyneuropathy. A study in motor fibers showed that the hands could be classified through a combination of M-wave latency and the more proximal motor nerve conduction velocity measurements. Independent of severity, motor and sensory nerve conduction was influenced to an equal degree in CTS and diabetic polyneuropathy. The hypothesis that both CTS and diabetic polyneuropathy can be associated with neural ischemia is discussed.