Turkish Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation 2023 , Vol 69 , Num 3

Efficiency of therapeutic underwater ultrasound therapy in mild-to-moderate carpal tunnel syndrome: A randomized sham-controlled study

Sinan Bagcaci 1 ,Ramazan Yilmaz 2 ,Nilay Sahin 3
1 Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Konya Medicana International Hospital, Konya, Türkiye
2 Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University of Health Sciences, Konya Beyhekim Training and Research Hospital, Konya, Türkiye
3 Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Medicine Faculty of Balıkesir University, Balıkesir, Türkiye
DOI : 10.5606/tftrd.2023.12467 Objectives: This study aimed to evaluate the efficiency of therapeutic pulsed ultrasound (US) applied underwater in mild-to-moderate carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS).

Patients and methods: This randomized, placebo-controlled study included 75 patients (114 hands; 7 males, 68 females; mean age: 46.7±9.9 years; range, 24 to 64 years) diagnosed with CTS through clinical evaluation and electroneuromyography (ENMG) results between March 2012 and January 2013. Patients were randomized into three groups. Group 1 received underwater pulsed US, Group 2 received sham US, and Group 3 was the control group. All groups were given night splints. Patients were evaluated at baseline, at the end of treatment (two weeks), and 12 weeks after the treatment using clinical examination tests (Tinel, Phalen, and hand elevation test), hand grip strength, Visual Analog Scale (VAS) for pain, Pain Quality Assessment Scale (PQAS), and ENMG.

Results: In all groups, a significant improvement was detected in the clinical assessment parameters, including the pain VAS, PQAS scores, physical examination outcomes, and hand grip strength. The decrease in VAS score and PQAS was found to be superior in the pulsed US group at both two weeks after the treatment and at the 12th week after the treatment compared to the sham US and control groups (p<0.001). Improvement in ENMG parameters, such as median motor latency, median sensorial velocity, and median sensory latency, was observed only in the underwater pulsed US group (p<0.001).

Conclusion: Therapeutic underwater pulsed US is an effective, safe, and easy-to-apply treatment option in the conservative treatment of mild-to-moderate CTS. Keywords : Carpal tunnel syndrome, physical therapy, pulsed ultrasound, splints