Evaluation and management of chronic work-related musculoskeletal disorders of the distal upper extremity

Am J Ind Med. 2000 Jan;37(1):75-93. doi: 10.1002/(sici)1097-0274(200001)37:1<75::aid-ajim7>3.0.co;2-4.


This clinical review will describe the epidemiology, clinical presentation, and management of the following work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs) of the distal upper extremity: deQuervain's disease, extensor and flexor forearm tendinitis/tendinosis, lateral and medial epicondylitis, cubital tunnel syndrome, and hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS). These conditions were selected for review either because they were among the most common WMSDs among patients attending the New York State Occupational Health Clinics (NYSOHC) network, or because there is strong evidence for work-relatedness in the clinical literature. Work-related carpal tunnel syndrome is discussed in an accompanying paper. In an attempt to provide evidence-based treatment recommendations, literature searches on the treatment of each condition were conducted via Medline for the years 1985-1999. There was a dearth of studies evaluating the efficacy of specific clinical treatments and ergonomic interventions for WMSDs. Therefore, many of the treatment recommendations presented here are based on a consensus of experienced public health-oriented occupational medicine physicians from the NYSOHC network after review of the pertinent literature. A summary table of the clinical features of the disorders is presented as a reference resource.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Arm* / blood supply
  • Arm* / innervation
  • Chronic Disease
  • Cubital Tunnel Syndrome / diagnosis
  • Cubital Tunnel Syndrome / therapy
  • Ergonomics
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Forearm
  • Humans
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / therapy
  • Occupational Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Occupational Diseases / therapy
  • Syndrome
  • Tendinopathy / diagnosis
  • Tendinopathy / therapy
  • Tennis Elbow / diagnosis
  • Tennis Elbow / therapy
  • Tenosynovitis / diagnosis
  • Tenosynovitis / therapy
  • Vascular Diseases / diagnosis
  • Vascular Diseases / etiology
  • Vascular Diseases / therapy
  • Vibration / adverse effects