Tendon motion and Median Nerve Blood flow in workers with highly repetitive jobs and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome symptoms


Key words: Ultrasonography, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, upper extremity, musculoskeletal disease

Timeline: March 2017 - present

Researchers: Amanda Farias Zuniga (Principal Investigator, McMaster University), Peter Keir ( McMaster University)

Funder: CRE-MSD

Project type: Seed grant

Sector/Workplace type: Sectors with repetitive hand movement and postures

Theme 1 - Injury mechanisms


Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a highly prevalent peripheral neuropathy resulting from median nerve compression.  It is common in working environments requiring highly repetitive, forceful, and awkward hand movements or postures.  The purpose of this investigation is to understand differences in tendon mechanics and nerve blood flow in symptomatic, clinically diagnosed patients with various severities of CTS.  Identifying changes in tendon mechanics in patients through ultrasonography may allow for identification of high-risk jobs and individuals, and to inform early ergonomic interventions.  Early intervention will provide the best opportunity to prevent nerve damage, and the onset of associated CTS symptoms.

Research question/objectives/methods

Understanding the effects of highly repetitive finger use and wrist posture on the development of carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is important in identifying high-risk tasks, jobs, or individuals, to allow for early interventions to either prevent or delay the onset of symptoms. The first purpose of this investigation is to quantify relative tendon-connective tissue displacement in response to repetitive finger motion in affected wrists, and the effect of wrist posture on median nerve blood flow.  The secondary purpose is to quantify the sensitivity of ultrasonography in differentiating mechanics in relation to posture, symptom severity and work history. Forty patients will be recruited from the neurology clinic on the day of their appointments. The participants will undergo two experimental conditions. One will be to assess blood flow velocity with three wrist postures and the second will record relative motion between finger tendons and connective tissues during a repetitive finger flexion task.

Key findings

In progress

Implications for the prevention of MSD

In progress

Knowledge dissemination

In progress

For more information please contact Peter Keir at pjkeir@mcmaster.ca

Last updated: April 28, 2017

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