Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is one of the most frequent extra-articular manifestations of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). High frequency ultrasonography (US) is a sensitive and specific method in diagnosis of CTS. This study is aimed to: firstly assess diameter frequency of CTS in RA with US and compare with a control group; secondly, investigate relationship of CTS with disease activity. One hundred consecutive RA patients (women/men: 78/22) fulfilling ACR 1987 RA criteria and 45 healthy controls (women/control: 34/11) were enrolled into study. Disease activity parameters, RA and CTS patient global assessment and health assessment questionnaire (HAQ-DI) were recorded. Both patient and control group were questioned about secondary causes of CTS, and Katz hand diagram, Boston CTS questionnaire and Phalen ve Tinel tests were applied once for each hand. Wrist joint and carpal tunnel were assessed with US grey scale and power Doppler US, then cross-sectional area of median nerve (CSA) was calculated. Patients with median nerve CSA between 10.0 and 13.0 mm(2) were evaluated with electromyography (EMG). CTS was diagnosed if CSA of median nerve > 13.0 mm(2) or CTS was shown with NCS. Although there was no difference between RA patients and controls in age, sex, history of DM (+) and goitre, CTS was more frequent in RA group (respectively, 17.0% vs. 4.4%, P = 0.038). In RA group with CTS, age, history of DM, disease duration, HAQ-DI score, CTS patient global score, Boston symptom severity and functional status scores were elevated compared to without CTS [respectively, 57 (36-73) vs. 50 (24-76), P = 0.041; 35.3% vs. 6.0%, P < 0.001; 108 (12-396) months vs. 72 (6-360) months, P = 0.036; 1.93 (0.75-2.87) vs. 1.125 (0-2.75), P = 0.013; 52 (1-97) vs. 25 (0-91), P = 0.001; 2.81 (1.18-4.17) vs. 2.0 (1.0-4.01), P = 0.01; 3.37 (1.37-5.0) vs. 2.25 (1.0-5.0), P = 0.008]. No difference was found between CTS (+) and (-) RA patients in acute phase reactants, disease activity and US findings (P > 0.05). Sensitivity of Katz hand diagram was higher than Tinel and Phalen tests (respectively, 100, 60.0, 66.7%). Boston symptom and functional scores of RA patients with CTS diagnosed by EMG were increased than patients CTS (-) by EMG [respectively, 3.05 (1.90-4.27) vs. 1.55 (1.0-2.90), P = 0.002; 3.25 (1.73-3.82) vs. 1.12 (1.0-2.10), P = 0.008]. CTS frequency in RA was found higher than normal population, especially in patients with additional risk factors of CTS. There was no relationship between CTS and disease activity. CTS group had long disease duration and worse functional status. CTS could be a result of the chronic course in RA. In patient with CSA between 10 and 13 mm(2), Boston CTS questionnaire might give additional idea about CTS.