Results of Steroid Injection for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
In this study results of steroid injection for carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) were measured using a patient survey. Researchers measured change in symptoms using a tool called the Symptom Severity Scale (SSS). The goal was to see how well the SSS works for measuring change after steroid injection treatment for CTS.

Patients with CTS who were going to be treated with steroid injection filled out a survey of questions before and after treatment. Questions were included about pain, other symptoms, and function.

The minimal clinically important difference (MCID) was calculated. The MCID is defined as "the smallest change in the score that is important." The MCID represents a change that can be seen or measured. The patient sees this change as positive or beneficial. The physician uses the MCID to guide further treatment.

According to this study, the SSS does show sensitivity or responsiveness to change in clinical symptoms for patients with CTS treated by steroid injection. If the MCID was 1.0 or more and the patient was better, then no further treatment was needed. If the patient still had symptoms and the MCID was less than 1.0, then further testing and/or treatment was required.

The authors say further studies are needed to see if the MCID changes when improvement occurs after splinting or surgery instead of steroid injection. It would also be good to see if the MCID gets worse by the same amount (1.0), does this signal a significant decline or deterioration of the client?
Tuna Özyürekoglu, MD, et al. The Minimally Clinically Important Difference of the Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Symptom Severity Scale. In The Journal of Hand Surgery. May-June 2006. Vol. 31A. No. 5. Pp. 733-738.