The quantitative evaluation of the relationship between the forces applied to the palm and carpal tunnel pressure

Kazutoshi Kubo, Yu-Shiuan Cheng, Boran Zhou, Kai-Nan An, Steven L Moran, Peter C Amadio, Xiaoming Zhang, Chunfeng Zhao
Journal of Biomechanics 2018 January 3, 66: 170-174
Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is the most common entrapment neuropathy occurring in upper limbs. The etiology, however, has not been fully understood yet. Median nerve could be compressed by either increase of carpal tunnel pressure (CTP) or direct impingement when it is forced toward to carpal ligament especially in wrist flexion leading to CTS development. Thus, the increase of carpal tunnel pressure is considered an important role in CTS development. It has been identified that forces applied to the palm would affect the CTP. However, the quantitative relationship between palmar contact force and CTP is not known. The purpose of this study was to quantitatively evaluate the relationship between palmar contact force and CTP. Eight human cadaveric hands were used. The CTP was measured with a diagnostic catheter-based pressure transducer inserted into the carpal tunnel. A custom made device was used to apply forces to the palm for the desired CTP. Palmar contact forces corresponding to the determined CTP level were recorded respectively. The testing was repeated with different ranges of tension applied to the flexor digitorum superficialis tendon of the third finger. The tensions were constant at 50 g for the other flexor tendons and median nerve. The results showed that CTP increased linearly with the force applied to the palm. When CTP was 30 mmHg, mean values of the contact force to the palm was 293 g (SD: 15.2) including all tensions. These results would help to understand the effect of daily activities with hands on CTP.

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