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Analysis of the musculoskeletal loading of the thumb during pipetting - a pilot study.
Wu JZ; Sinsel EW; Shroyer JF; Warren CM; Welcome DE; Zhao KD; An K-N; Buczek FL
J Biomech 2014 Jan; 47(2):392-399
Previous epidemiological studies indicate that the use of thumb-push mechanical pipettes is associated with musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) in the hand. The goal of the current study was to analyze the loading in the muscle-tendon units in the thumb during pipetting. The hand is modeled as a multi-body linkage system and includes four fingers (index, long, ring, and little finger), a thumb, and a palm segment. Since the current study is focused on the thumb, the model includes only nine muscles attached to the thumb via tendons. The time-histories of joint angles and push force at the pipette plunger during pipetting were determined experimentally and used as model input; whereas forces in the muscle-tendon units in the thumb were calculated via an inverse dynamic approach combined with an optimization procedure. Results indicate that all nine muscles have force outputs during pipetting, and the maximal force was in the abductor pollicis brevis (APB). The ratio of the mean peak muscle force to the mean peak push force during the dispensing cycle was approximately 2.3, which is comparable to values observed in grasping tasks in the literature. The analysis method and results in the current study provide a mechanistic understanding of MSD risk factors associated with pipetting, and may be useful in guiding ergonomic designs for manual pipettes.
Epidemiology; Musculoskeletal-system; Musculoskeletal-system-disorders; Muscle-function; Muscle-stress; Hand-injuries; Force; Ergonomics; Author Keywords: Thumb; Muscle-tendon force; Pipette; Modeling; Inverse dynamics
John Z. Wu, NIOSH/CDC, 1095 Willowdale Road, MS-2027, Morgantown, WV 26505
Issue of Publication
Journal of Biomechanics
Page last reviewed: April 1, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division