Edwards, Richard G., PhD; McCoy, Donald F., PhD
"A pilot study was conducted to examine the relationship between wrist orthotic usage and the development of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) in industrial workers. Fifteen female workers engaged in sewing operations at a Kentucky garment manufacturing plant completed the year long study. Six wore a wrist orthotic during their employment (Group B); nine did not (Group NB). All were tested at two month intervals at the plant site using a portable electroneurometer. Results indicated that both groups produced noticeable decreases in response latencies throughout the test period. However, the NB group produced consistently (but nonsignificantly) lower response latencies across the seven test sessions. Comparison of latency differences between the first and last test indicated that there was a significant decrease in overall response latency (Groups B and NB combined). This improvement was also significant for Group NB alone. The improvement seen in Group B, although not statistically significant due to small sample size, was 12% (relative to 8.8% for Group NB). These data indicate that sound ergonomic practices employed at the work site can result in a trend away from the development of CTS. They also demonstrate that median nerve latencies can be successfully gathered in the field. Finally, there is a suggestion that wrist orthotics might prove useful in the prevention and/or treatment of CTS. It is recommended that a larger, more intensive, and more complete study be conducted to further evaluate these implications."
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