Effects of finger posture on carpal tunnel pressure during wrist motion
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Persistent elevations in carpal tunnel pressure may aggravate carpal tunnel syndrome. This study examined the effects of finger posture on carpal tunnel pressure during wrist motion. Carpal tunnel hydrostatic pressure was measured using a saline-filled catheter inserted into the nondominant wrists of 14 healthy individuals. Range of motion tasks of wrist flexion-extension and radioulnar deviation were repeated with metacarpophalangeal (MCP) joint angles of 0 degrees, 45 degrees, and 90 degrees flexion. Pressures were significantly greater with the fingers straight (MCP = 0 degrees) than when the MCP joints were flexed to 45 degrees for all radioulnar deviation angles and from 10 degrees of wrist flexion to all angles of wrist extension tested. Pressures were also significantly higher with MCP joints at 0 degrees than at 90 degrees for wrist extension angles from 10 degrees to 40 degrees. Pressures increased to over 30 mm Hg (4.0 kPa) in some wrist extension and ulnar and radially deviated postures. Finger and wrist postures should be considered when designing splints or evaluating tasks for patients with carpal tunnel syndrome.
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