Study of wrist posture, loading and repetitive motion as risk factors for developing carpal tunnel syndrome

Hand Surg. 2007;12(1):13-8. doi: 10.1142/S0218810407003341.


Occupational risk factors of carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) are popular current research targets, with main emphasis put on wrist posture and dynamics. In this study, we do not intend to pinpoint individual occupations, but aim to identify high risk wrist postures and actions which may occur across various occupations. It is hoped that prevention can thus be instituted in a general population by directing at the particular causative wrist actions rather than exclusively targeting isolated occupations. We performed a case-control study with 166 cases and 111 controls recruited from different hospitals in Hong Kong in 2004. All cases and controls completed the survey on their general health condition, smoking status, wrist posture and motion as well as psychosocial status at the time of diagnosis of CTS. Frequent flexion OR = 4.436 (95% CI: 1.833-10.734), frequent extension OR = 2.691 (95% CI: 1.106-6.547) of the wrist were found to be associated with CTS. Frequent sustained forceful motion of the wrist OR = 2.588 (95% CI: 1.144-5.851) was also found to be associated with CTS. Neutral wrist position and repetitive wrist motion were not associated with CTS. Adjustment was made for age, sex, BMI, smoking and psychosocial stress. Our study confirms that frequent flexion, extension and sustained force of the wrist increase the risk of developing CTS.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome / epidemiology*
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome / physiopathology
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome / psychology
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Stress, Psychological
  • Wrist / physiopathology*