An assessment of hand volumetric and temperature changes during office related repetitive activities

Bioengineering Unit, University of Strathclyde, Wolfson Building, Glasgow, UK.
Work (Impact Factor: 0.52). 06/2013; 48(1). DOI: 10.3233/WOR-131662
Source: PubMed


Hand usage and movement is routinely performed by all individuals daily irrespective of age. These movements can vary and can be repetitive in nature. Exposure of the hard and soft tissues of the hand to prolonged repetitive activities could contribute to the development work related upper limb disorders (WRULD).
Within the work setting, work related upper limb disorders (WRULDs) rank high in the United Kingdom (UK), second only to back complaints. This paper reports the amount of tendon travel and swelling that occurs in the hand during repetitive office activities that have been associated with WRULDs.
Nine healthy adults (five males; four females) participated in the study.
A 30-minute laboratory-based simulated office activity that consisted of data entry, mouse clicking and dragging, and mouse scrolling tasks was performed. Participants wore a custom-made cost effective flexible electrogoniometric glove (FEG) as two experimental conditions were tested; namely, FEG - only, and FEG using a Splint (FEG - Splint).
The FEG - only condition produced a higher overall tendon travel compared to the FEG - Splint condition. Both hands presented no statistically significant differences in hand temperature (p > 0.05) and hand volume increments (p > 0.05) with respect to the FEG - only and FEG - Splint office activity experiments. All participants that showed a decrease in hand volumetric measurement produced final temperature measurements lower than initial temperature measurements taken at the commencement of the experiment. Based on participants' perception, the mouse scrolling task was deemed as most strenuous.
The findings can help to advise patients on biomechanical 'risks' associated with repetitive activities.

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