Associations between workplace factors and carpal tunnel syndrome: A multi-site cross sectional study

Z. Joyce Fan, Carisa Harris-Adamson, Fred Gerr, Ellen A. Eisen, Kurt T. Hegmann, Barbara Silverstein, Bradley Evanoff, Ann Marie Dale, Matthew S. Thiese, Arun Garg, Jay Kapellusch, Susan Burt, Linda Merlino, David Rempel

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31 Scopus citations


Background: Few large epidemiologic studies have used rigorous case criteria, individual-level exposure measurements, and appropriate control for confounders to examine associations between workplace psychosocial and biomechanical factors and carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS). Methods: Pooling data from five independent research studies, we assessed associations between prevalent CTS and personal, work psychosocial, and biomechanical factors while adjusting for confounders using multivariable logistic regression. Results: Prevalent CTS was associated with personal factors of older age, obesity, female sex, medical conditions, previous distal upper extremity disorders, workplace measures of peak forceful hand activity, a composite measure of force and repetition (ACGIH Threshold Limit Value for Hand Activity Level), and hand vibration. Conclusions: In this cross-sectional analysis of production and service workers, CTS prevalence was associated with workplace and biomechanical factors. The findings were similar to those from a prospective analysis of the same cohort with differences that may be due to recall bias and other factors. Am. J. Ind. Med. 58:509-518, 2015.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)509-518
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Journal of Industrial Medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2015


  • Confounders
  • Individual-level assessment
  • Musculoskeletal disorders
  • Physical work-load
  • Workers


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