Turkish Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation 2008 , Vol 54 , Num 4

Prevalence of Hand-Wrist Pain Like Carpal Tunnel Syndrome in Hospital Staff and Risk Factors

İbrahim Tekeoğlu 1 ,Elif Gülcü 2
1 Department of Pysical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Division of Rheumatology, Sakarya University Faculty of Medicine, Sakarya, Turkey
2 Yüzüncü Yıl Üniversitesi Tıp Fakültesi, Fiziksel Tıp ve Rehabilitasyon Anabilim Dalı, Van, Türkiye

Objective: This study aims at identifying the prevalence of wrist pain, physical findings of carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS), individual and occupation-related factors affecting pain and treatment preferences among hospital staff members including physicians, medical students, nurses and other health care personnel.

Materials and Methods: Data were collected through questionnaires in two parts. Besides demographic data, questionnaires included data regarding prevalence of hand and wrist pain, prevalence of CTS-related symptoms, individual and occupation-related risk factors and treatment preferences of the subjects. A total of 300 subjects, including 100 physicians, 100 nurses, 100 medical students and other personnel were enrolled in the study. 

Results: There were 148 female (49.4%) and 152 male (50.6%) volunteers, with a mean age of 26.9±4.85 (range 17-44). Prevalence of hand and wrist pain compatible with CTS was found to be 5.3%. CTS was observed to occur at a higher rate among: 1-) nurses 2-) multipars 3-) those working for a long period of time, and 4-) those subject to continuous night and day shifts. Prevalence of hand and wrist pain was detected to be six times higher in nurses, as opposed to other health care personnel (doctor and medical students). The majority of subjects complaining of hand and wrist pain did not refer to a specialist (54%); and those who did, most commonly referred to a Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation clinic (30%), followed by orthopedics, neurology and primary health care center, in decreasing order. 

Conclusion: As in the general population, hand and wrist pain is an important and frequent problem in professional health care staff. Nurses are especially at great risk for hand and wrist pain; therefore education and preventive measures need to be undertaken.

Keywords : Hand and wrist pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, risk factors, hospital staff