Original article

Scand J Work Environ Health 1983;9(3):291-297    pdf

https://doi.org/10.5271/sjweh.2408 | Issue date: Jun 1983

Left-sided carpal tunnel syndrome in butchers.

by Falck B, Aarnio P

Butchers from two slaughterhouses were studied for carpal tunnel syndrome. The diagnosis was based on subjective symptoms and electroneurography. In about half of the otherwise healthy butchers there were various degrees of the syndrome in the nondominant hand, or, if the syndrome was bilateral, the nondominant side was more affected. So far two of the subjects have been operated on. The operative findings and results were consistent with carpal tunnel syndrome. The underlying cause for this occupational disorder is probably mechanical stress on the left hand. Various tools are held in the right hand, while the carcass is lifted, torn, and handled with the left hand. The butchers considered the load on the left hand more strenuous than the one on the right. The prolonged heavy grasping with the fingers of the left hand probably leads to thickening of the synovial membrane of the finger flexors within the carpal tunnel. The carpal tunnel is a relatively rigid structure, and an increased diameter of the flexor tendons may cause the carpal tunnel syndrome. This small cluster sample of butchers is not adequate for epidemiologic conclusions. However, carpal tunnel syndrome seems to be an important occupational disorder among butchers.