Incidence of carpal tunnel syndrome among automobile assembly workers and assessment of risk factors

J Occup Environ Med. 2005 Oct;47(10):1044-50. doi: 10.1097/01.jom.0000171065.17288.a0.


Objectives: This study defined the incidence rate of carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) among active assembly workers and evaluated risk factors.

Methods: This study followed 189 automobile assembly workers over 1 year. Incident cases were defined as workers who had no current or prior history of CTS and were subsequently diagnosed with CTS by means of active surveillance during the study.

Results: The estimated annual incidence rate ranged from 1% to 10%, depending on the case definition. Significant predictors for CTS include a higher baseline median-ulnar peak latency difference, history of wrist/hand/finger tendonitis, history of diabetes, nonneutral wrist and elbow postures, and a lower self-reported social support.

Conclusions: This is similar to other prospective studies that demonstrate both ergonomic and medical history are independent risk factors for development of CTS.

MeSH terms

  • Automobiles*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome / diagnosis
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome / epidemiology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / epidemiology
  • Ergonomics
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Michigan / epidemiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Occupational Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Risk Factors
  • United States / epidemiology