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Treatment of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome with Nerve and Tendon Gliding Exercises

Akalin, Elif; El, Özlem; Peker, Özlen; Şenocak, Özlem; Tamci, Şebnem; Gülbahar, Selmin; Çakmur, Raif; Öncel, Sema

American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation: February 2002 - Volume 81 - Issue 2 - p 108-113
Research Articles: Carpal Tunnel

Akalin E, El Ö, Peker Ö, Şenocak Ö, Tamci Ş, Gülbahar S, Çakmur R, Öncel S: Treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome with nerve and tendon gliding exercises. Am J Phys Med Rehabil 2002;81:108–113.

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.

From the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (EA, OE, OP, OS, ST, SG, SO) and the Department of Neurology (RC), Dokuz Eylül University.

Address all correspondence and requests for reprints to Elif Akalin, Medical Faculty, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Dokuz Eylül University, Izmir 35340, Turkey.

© 2002 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.