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BACKGROUND: Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is the commonest peripheral nerve disorder in the UK, with over 52,996 carpal tunnel decompressions performed in 2011. By 2030, this figure is estimated to double. Whilst evidence supports conservative measures for mild symptoms, and early surgery for severe symptoms, controversy remains over the most appropriate management for patients that present with moderate disease, with regard to early surgery or late surgery following steroid injection. Injection versus Decompression for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome-Pilot trial (INDICATE-P) is a feasibility study for a multicentre, randomised controlled trial (INDICATE) to determine whether patients over the age of 18 with moderate CTS should undergo early surgical decompression of the median nerve or a single steroid injection (followed by later surgery if required). METHODS/DESIGN: INDICATE-P is a feasibility study for an open (non-blinded) randomised controlled pilot trial. Eligible participants will be adults with a clinical diagnosis of moderate CTS. This is defined as symptoms disturbing sleep or restricting activities of daily living or work, despite a 2-week trial of night splints. Participants will be randomised to one of two possible interventions: surgical decompression or a single steroid injection (followed by surgery later if required). Clinical outcome measures will be captured by postal questionnaire at 1, 3, 6 and 12 months post-randomisation. In order to improve the study design for the main INDICATE trial, feasibility data will also be collected to identify difficulties in recruitment and retention, to gain patient feedback on questionnaires and to confirm the suitability of the proposed outcome measures. DISCUSSION: The INDICATE-P feasibility study will contribute to the design and execution of the INDICATE trial, which will seek to assess the safety and effectiveness of two approaches to treatment for patients over 18 years of age with moderate CTS: early carpal tunnel decompression or a single steroid injection (followed by later surgery).

Original publication




Journal article


Pilot feasibility stud

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Carpal tunnel decompression, Carpal tunnel syndrome, Randomised controlled trial, Steroid injection