Hand and Wrist Health

Premier Health providers answer frequently asked questions about hand and wrist health.

How is carpal tunnel diagnosed?

Dr. Michael Rymer discusses how carpal tunnel syndrome is diagnosed. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.

How is carpal tunnel diagnosed?

Carpal tunnel is a clinical diagnosis that we diagnose through a patients history and physical exam. We do often order electrical diagnostic studies that do help, help us diagnose carpal tunnel. The most important this is they also help grade the severity of carpal tunnel syndrome.


Carpal tunnel syndrome is diagnosed after first discussing your symptoms with your doctor, according to the National Institutes of HealthOff Site Icon (NIH).

Your doctor likely will do two diagnostic tests, according to the NIH, each of which will test for carpal tunnel symptoms by trying to duplicate them:

  • Tapping or pressing on the median nerve on the inside of the wrist. Your fingers will start to tingle or feel a shock sensation.
  • Having you bend your wrist down for a minute to see if tingling or numbness starts.

Often, the diagnosis is confirmed by using a nerve conduction test or an electromyography (EMG) test, according to the American Academy of PediatricsOff Site Icon (AAFP). The test determines if the nerves and muscles in your arm and hand show reactions typical of carpal tunnel syndrome.

Talk to your doctor for more information about diagnosing carpal tunnel syndrome.

Learn more:

Source: Michael Rymer, MD, Hand and Reconstructive Surgeons and Associates; Beth Berrettoni, MD, Hand and Reconstructive Surgeons and Associates; Matthew Cavo, MD, Hand and Reconstructive Surgeons and Associates