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Effects of finger posture on carpal tunnel pressure during wrist motion

  • Author Footnotes
    1 From the Ergonomics Laboratory, Division of Occupational Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, CA.
    Peter J. Keir
    Footnotes
    1 From the Ergonomics Laboratory, Division of Occupational Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, CA.
    Affiliations
    San Francisco, CA, USA
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  • Author Footnotes
    1 From the Ergonomics Laboratory, Division of Occupational Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, CA.
    Joel M. Bach
    Footnotes
    1 From the Ergonomics Laboratory, Division of Occupational Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, CA.
    Affiliations
    San Francisco, CA, USA
    Search for articles by this author
  • Author Footnotes
    1 From the Ergonomics Laboratory, Division of Occupational Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, CA.
    David M. Rempel
    Correspondence
    Reprint requests: David M. Rempel, MD, UCSF Ergonomics Laboratory, 1301 S 46th St, Bldg 112, Richmond, CA 94804.
    Footnotes
    1 From the Ergonomics Laboratory, Division of Occupational Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, CA.
    Affiliations
    San Francisco, CA, USA
    Search for articles by this author
  • Author Footnotes
    1 From the Ergonomics Laboratory, Division of Occupational Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, CA.
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      Persistent elevations in carpal tunnel pressure may aggravate carpal tunnel syndrome. This study examined the effects of finger posture on carpal tunnel pressure during wrist motion. Carpal tunnel hydrostatic pressure was measured using a saline-filled catheter inserted into the nondominant wrists of 14 healthy individuals. Range of motion tasks of wrist flexion-extension and radioulnar deviation were repeated with metacarpophalageal (MCP) joint angles of 0° 45°, and 90° flexion. Pressure were significantly greater with the fingers straight (MCP=0°) than when the MCP joints were flexed to 45° for all radioulnar deviation angles and from 10° of wrist flexion to all angles of wrist extension tested. Pressures were also significantly higher with MCP joints at 0° than at 90° for wrist extension angles from 10° to 40°. Pressures increased to over 30 mm Hg (4.0 kPa) in some wrist extension and ulnar and radially deviated postures. Finger and wrist postures should be considered when designing splints or evaluating tasks for patients with carpal tunnel syndrome.
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