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Work-Related Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Down From 2003 to 2018

WEDNESDAY, April 14, 2021 -- Work-related carpal tunnel syndrome injuries have decreased over time, according to a study published in the March issue of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

Eric B. Battista, from Wayne State University in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and colleagues used national employment, demographic, and injury data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2003 to 2018) to evaluate whether clerical or labor-type work is more associated with the risk for developing work-related carpal tunnel syndrome.

The researchers found that work-related carpal tunnel syndrome injuries decreased over time. In 2003, there were 1,315,920 total injuries, including 22,140 carpal tunnel syndrome injuries (1.7 percent of total injuries), compared with 900,380 total reported nonfatal injuries in 2018, of which 5,050 were work-related carpal tunnel syndrome injuries (0.5 percent of total injuries). Compared with clerical industries, the labor industry showed a significantly higher incidence of work-related carpal tunnel syndrome. The manufacturing industry had the highest incidence of work-related carpal tunnel syndrome over time within the labor industry.

"This study is an important reminder that carpal tunnel is a primary contributor to hand and upper extremity pain in both the clerical and manufacturing work places, and that ergonomic conditions for workers in both industries should be equally considered," a coauthor said in a statement.

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