Elbow and wrist/hand symptoms among 6,943 computer operators: a 1-year follow-up study (the NUDATA study)

Am J Ind Med. 2004 Nov;46(5):521-33. doi: 10.1002/ajim.20081.


Background: The aim of this study was to examine relations between computer work aspects and elbow and wrist/hand pain conditions and disorders.

Methods: In a 1-year follow-up study among 6,943 technical assistants and machine technicians self-reported active mouse and keyboard time, ergonomic exposures and associations with elbow and wrist/hand pain were determined. Standardized clinical examinations were performed among symptomatic participants at baseline and at follow-up.

Results: For continuous duration of mouse time adjusted linear effects were statistically significant for all investigated pain conditions. For continuous duration of keyboard time the corresponding effects were statistically significant for wrist/hand pain conditions except incident 'severe' wrist/hand pain. There were no threshold effects above 0 hr per week (hr/w) of mouse exposure in association with pain conditions, while keyboard exposure showed a threshold effect with 12-month wrist/hand pain at follow-up. Clinical diagnoses were not associated with exposure.

Conclusions: Detailed examination of self-reported exposures showed that mouse and keyboard time predicted elbow and wrist/hand pain from low exposure levels without a threshold effect, but mouse and keyboard time were not predictors of clinical conditions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Computer Peripherals*
  • Computer Terminals*
  • Cumulative Trauma Disorders / epidemiology
  • Cumulative Trauma Disorders / etiology*
  • Elbow*
  • Ergonomics
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hand*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / epidemiology
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / etiology*
  • Occupational Diseases / epidemiology
  • Occupational Diseases / etiology*
  • Occupational Exposure
  • Pain Measurement
  • Risk Factors
  • Wrist*