August 12 2007 Ergonomics Newsletter
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome - Back to the Basics
What exactly is carpal tunnel syndrome? This article goes back to the basics and describes anatomy, cause of injury, occupational risk factors. Tips for ergonomic prevention are included.
Some Interesting Carpal Tunnel Facts
* Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is the most commonly known repetitive strain injury (RSI). It is just one diagnosis under the umbrella heading of repetitive strain injuries.
* RSIs occur when daily microscopic damage exceeds the body’s daily ability to repair tissues. The damage accumulates gradually until symptoms finally become evident.
* Excessive or repetitive work, forceful movements and awkward positioning can all contribute to an RSI developing. Anything that slows the body’s ability to heal, such as stress, poor health and illness (for example, diabetes, arthritis) can contribute. A change in the volume of the carpal tunnel (for example, caused by a wrist fracture, obesity or a cyst) can also cause symptoms.
* About 50% of all workers are considered to be at risk of developing a repetitive strain injury such as carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS). 1 in 10 will develop an injury severe enough that it interferes with work, home and leisure activities.
* 9% of women between the ages of 25 and 74 may have symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.
* Symptoms may include hand and arm pain, numbness and tingling, weakness and clumsiness. At its worst, people who experience these injuries are unable to work, unable to pursue musical and artistic hobbies, unable to perform simple household tasks, even unable to hold and care for their babies.
* The carpal tunnel release is one of the most commonly performed surgical procedures in the United States.
Please visit ergonomics.bellaonline.com for even more ergonomic information.
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Marji Hajic, Ergonomics Editor
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