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Upper Limb

Work practices and histopathological changes in the tenosynovium and flexor retinaculum in carpal tunnel syndrome in women

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We studied 58 women of employable age with the carpal tunnel syndrome in order to determine whether the histological appearances of the carpal tunnel, tenosynovium and flexor retinaculum are influenced by work practices. Age, body mass index and the duration of symptoms did not correlate with the extent of oedema or fibrosis within the tenosynovium. The incidence of abnormality on histological examination of the tenosynovium was the same in employed and unemployed patients (p = 1.0), and was not influenced by the level of repetition (p = 0.89) or force (p = 0.29) of work. Myxoid degeneration within the flexor retinaculum was, however, more common in women undertaking ‘high-force’ work. Apart from this finding, the results suggest that work practices do not affect tenosynovial thickening, fibrosis or oedema in patients with carpal tunnel syndrome.

Correspondence should be sent to Mr J. Chell.

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