American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons

View all recommendations from this society

Released September 11, 2013; rationale and sources updated May 13, 2016

Don’t use post-operative splinting of the wrist after carpal tunnel release for long-term relief.

Routine post-operative splinting of the wrist after the carpal tunnel release procedure showed no long-term difference in range of motion, grip or lateral pinch strength. In addition, the research showed no difference in wound complication rates.

These items are provided solely for informational purposes and are not intended as a substitute for consultation with a medical professional. Patients with any specific questions about the items on this list or their individual situation should consult their physician.

How The List Was Created

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) routinely develops evidence-based clinical practice guidelines as valuable tools to advance the physician-patient communications process and enhance the diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal conditions. AAOS physician volunteer work groups develop evidence-based clinical practice guidelines to serve as an educational tool based on an assessment of the current scientific and clinical information and accepted approaches to treatment. The most recent approved clinical practice guidelines have been published in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. AAOS staff, led by the medical director, conducted a review of the approved clinical practice guidelines previously developed by the work groups and selected a variety of topics frequently used in orthopaedic surgical practice. After input from the orthopaedic specialty society leaders and approval from the AAOS Presidential Leadership and Board of Directors, the final five topics were selected for this campaign. The AAOS disclosure and conflict of interest policy can be found at


American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Management of carpal tunnel syndrome evidence-based clinical practice guideline. Rosemont (IL): American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, published 2016 Feb 29. Available from:

Bury TF, Akelman E, Weiss AP. Prospective, randomized trial of splinting after carpal tunnel release. Ann Plast Surg. 1995 Jul;35(1):19-22.

Cook AC, Szabo RM, Birkholz SW, King EF. Early mobilization following carpal tunnel release. A prospective randomized study. J Hand Surg [Br]. 1995 Apr;20(2):228-30.

Finsen V, Andersen K, Russwurm H. No advantage from splinting the wrist after open carpal tunnel release. A randomized study of 82 wrists. Acta Orthop Scand. 1999 Jun;70(3):288-92.

Martins RS, Siqueira MG, Simplicio H. Wrist immobilization after carpal tunnel release: a prospective study. Arq Neuro-Psiquiatr. 2006;64(3 A).

Ritting AW, Leger R, O’Malley MP, Mogielnicki H, Tucker R, Rodner CM. Duration of postoperative dressing after mini-open carpal tunnel release: a prospective, randomized trial. J Hand Surg Am. 2012 Jan;37(1):3-8.