Splinting for carpal tunnel syndrome: in search of the optimal angle

Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 1994 Nov;75(11):1241-4. doi: 10.1016/0003-9993(94)90012-4.


Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is the most common of the compression neuropathies. Several studies have demonstrated the efficacy of wrist splinting in relieving the symptoms of CTS; however, the chosen angle of immobilization has varied. Wick catheter measurements of carpal tunnel pressures suggest that the neural position has less pressure and, therefore, greater potential to provide relief from symptoms. This study is a prospectively gathered, blind trial comparing the symptom relief experienced by wearers of splints immobilized at 20 degrees extension and at neutral. The results indicate that the neutral angle provided superior symptom relief, and that the relief did not often improve between 2 weeks and 2 months of wear. Relief of symptoms was not related to the length of time that the patient had experienced of CTS symptoms. The results also indicate that the results of the electromyography/nerve conduction study (EMG/NCS) do not provide information about the subjects' likely response to splinting.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome / physiopathology
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome / rehabilitation*
  • Electromyography
  • Humans
  • Neural Conduction
  • Physical Therapy Modalities / methods
  • Pressure
  • Prospective Studies
  • Splints*