Prevalence of carpal tunnel syndrome among dairy workers

Authors

  • Anuja Patil MS, PT,

    1. Department of Environmental and Radiological Health Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado
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  • John Rosecrance PhD, PT, CPE,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Environmental and Radiological Health Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado
    • 1681 Campus Delivery, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO80523.
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  • David Douphrate PhD, PT, MBA,

    1. University of Texas School of Public Health, San Antonio Regional Campus, San Antonio, Texas
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  • David Gilkey PhD, DC, CPE

    1. Department of Environmental and Radiological Health Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado
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  • Disclosure statement: The authors report no conflicts of interests.

  • Institution at which the work was performed: Colorado State University.

Abstract

Background

The purpose of this study was to determine the prevalence of carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) among dairy workers.

Methods

Sixty-six dairy parlor workers and 58 non-parlor workers at dairies in Texas, New Mexico, and Colorado participated in structured interviews regarding demographics, work history, and hand symptoms. All participants had nerve conduction studies performed on both hands across the carpal tunnel. A CTS case definition was based on the presence of characteristic CTS symptoms and an abnormal median mononeuropathy across the carpal tunnel.

Results

The prevalence of CTS among the dairy parlor workers was 16.6% and 3.6% among non-parlor workers. The difference was found to be statistically significant (P < 0.05) with an odds ratio of 5.3, CI (1.1–25.5).

Conclusions

The results of this study indicate that CTS is a significant challenge for dairy parlor workers. The prevalence of CTS was found to be significantly higher among dairy workers performing tasks in the milking parlor as opposed to workers performing tasks in other areas of the dairy farm. The results emphasize the need for administrative and engineering controls to limit the exposure to physical risk factors that are associated with upper limb disorders such as CTS. Am. J. Ind. Med. 55:127–135, 2012. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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