In a cross sectional study, undertaken to evaluate the relationship between repetitiveness, forcefulness, and selected cumulative trauma disorders of the hand and wrist, a total of 652 workers were studied for de Quervain's disease, trigger finger, tendinitis, and tenosynovitis. Workers were selected from jobs with four combinations of force and repetitiveness in seven types of work (electronics, sewing, appliance, bearing fabrication, bearing assembly, and investment molding). Jobs with a cycle time less than 30 seconds or which involved performing the same motion for over 50 percent of the cycle time were classified as high repetitive (HR); low repetitive (LR) jobs had cycle times over 30 seconds and involved performing the same motion less than 50 percent of the cycle time. Jobs with estimated average hand force requirements over 40 newtons were considered high force (HF); jobs with estimated average hand force requirements below 10 newtons were considered low force (LF). Standardized interviews and noninvasive physical examinations were conducted for the subjects. Forty five workers fulfilled the criteria for tendinitis in the interview, and 29 workers with hand/wrist tendinitis were identified by physical examination and the interview. Prevalence of hand/wrist tendinitis by force and repetitiveness ranged from 0.6 percent in the LF/LR jobs to 10.8 percent in the HF/HR jobs. Overall prevalence was significantly higher in females (7.8 percent) than in males (1.7 percent). Significant differences in posture between males and females were observed. The authors conclude that there is a highly significant association between recognized signs and symptoms of hand/wrist tendinitis and repetitiveness and forcefulness of manual work.
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