Occupational risk factors for radial tunnel syndrome in industrial workers

Scand J Work Environ Health. 2000 Dec;26(6):507-13. doi: 10.5271/sjweh.575.


Objectives: The aim of the study was to evaluate both nonoccupational and occupational factors associated with radial tunnel syndrome (RTS) among industrial workers in 3 large plants.

Methods: Twenty-one cases of RTS were compared with 21 referents matched for gender, age, and plant. RTS was associated with carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) in 9 cases. Past medical history, household activities, and ergonomic and organizational characteristics of the job were analyzed.

Results: The study found 3 occupational risk factors for RTS. Exertion of force of over 1 kg [odds ratio (OR) 9.1, 95% confidence interval (95% CI) 1.4-56.9] more than 10 times per hour was the main biomechanical risk factor. Prolonged static load applied to the hand during work was strongly associated with RTS (OR 5.9, 95% CI 1.2-29.9). Work posture with the elbow fully extended (0-45 degrees) was associated with RTS (OR 4.9, 95% CI 1.0-25.0). Full extension of the elbow, associated with a twisted posture of the forearm, stressed the radial nerve at the elbow. However, personal activities, household chores, and sport and leisure activities were not associated with RTS.

Conclusions: The study confirms that RTS occurs in workers performing hard manual labor that requires forceful and repetitive movements involving elbow extension and forearm prosupination.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cumulative Trauma Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Cumulative Trauma Disorders / physiopathology
  • Female
  • France / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Industry*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nerve Compression Syndromes / epidemiology*
  • Nerve Compression Syndromes / physiopathology
  • Occupational Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Radial Nerve / physiopathology*
  • Risk Factors