Risk of carpal tunnel syndrome is lower with intensive keyboard use

Jan 22, 2008

 Persons who engage in intensive computer keyboard use in the workplace are at lower risk for carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) than those who do not. Keyboard use actually may be protective because repeated low force muscle activity may decrease the risk of edema and increased tissue pressure.

 Persons who engage in intensive computer keyboard use in the workplace are at lower risk for carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) than those who do not. Keyboard use actually may be protective because repeated low force muscle activity may decrease the risk of edema and increased tissue pressure.

Atroshi and associates conducted a population based study of 2465 persons of working age using a general health status questionnaire. Respondents provided information about their medical history; work activities; and the presence, severity, and frequency of pain, numbness, and tingling in each body region. Those who reported recurrent hand numbness or tingling in the median nerve distribution underwent physical examination and nerve conduction testing.

The prevalence of CTS was 2.6% in the high-keyboard-use group (4 h/d or longer), compared with 2.9% in the moderate-use group (1 to 4 h/d), 4.9% in the low use group (less than 1 h/d), and 5.2% in the no-keyboard-use-at-work group. Older age, higher body mass index, and current cigarette smoking also were associated with a significantly higher prevalence ratio of CTS.

The authors noted that their findings could help physicians in advising patients and in focusing preventive measures on relevant workplaces.

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