BACKGROUND: Median F-wave latencies are physiologically shorter than ulnar latencies, but they are often longer relative to ulnar latencies in carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS). This study aimed to investigate the value of absolute F-waves and relative latency changes compared to ulnar latencies in the diagnosis of CTS. METHODS: F-wave latencies of median and ulnar nerves in 339 hands from 339 patients with CTS and 60 hands from 60 control subjects were investigated. Mean F-wave minimal latencies of median and ulnar nerves were compared between groups. Patients were further divided into subgroups based on Canterbury grading and then analyzed using F-wave latency differences (FWLD) and F-wave ratio (FWR). RESULTS: Of 339 hands in the CTS group, 236 hands exhibited F-wave inversion based on the FWLD criterion and 277 hands had F-wave inversion based on the FWR criterion. F-wave inversion had a sensitivity of 81.7% using the FWR criterion to diagnose CTS. The mean FWLD and FWR were significantly greater in all patient subgroups compared to the control group (p < 0.001). In addition, mean FWLD and FWR showed significant correlations (r = –0.683 and r = 0.674, respectively, p < 0.001) with disease severity. CONCLUSIONS: F-wave studies are effective supplementary diagnostic tools comparing to other standard electrophysiologic criteria for screening patients with CTS.