I’m looking for any valid researched information for/against using softflex gloves while keyboarding. I am working with a tech group that wants management to supply these gloves for employees. You can check out the product at http://www.softflex.com. I’m sceptical about any "simple" solution for CTS that supposedly works for everyone. Thanks for your help. Jeannette
Jeannette Murphy, OTR/L, CEA
Ergonomics and Injury Prevention Specialist
St. Luke’s Rehab Institute
You are right about any solution that "works" for everyone! I do some office and computer workstation assessments and I’ve found very infrequent problems with actual pressure on the wrist — more often than not, the problem is with the set up of the keyboard, mouse, etc. with excessive wrist extension posture being the culprit — so internal carpal tunnel pressure, rather than external pressure. If this splint helps to keep the wrist in neutral, it could be helpful, but the workstation itself most likely needs modifying, or at the least the worker needs some education on correct postures.
In the Novemeber issue of CTD News, there is an article reporting that that American Association of Neuromuscular and Electrodiagnostic Medicine revealed that "certain risk factors play a large role in influencing an individual’s liklihood of developing CTS". The reported "risk factors" were: high BMI, wrist dimension, diabetes and menopause. Cindy Roth is quoted as saying: "…, a lot of carpal tunnel cases can be attributed to personal risk factors".
I found it interesting that in the closing pragraph she reverted to the standard mantra" "Employees must havean understanding of awkward postures, force and reptition,.."
Jim Herzog, MS, OTR, FABDA
Personal risk factors may make one more susceptible to increased internal and external carpal tunnel pressures and development of CTS. Sometimes even one’s own anatomy may be predisposing to CTS, without contributing medical or external factors.
But back to the splint issue — we know one splint will not cure CTS for everyone and I doubt there is formal research done with this particular splint (maybe paid for by the splint company?)
M Steed, OTR/L
Oh goodness there seems to be no end to products which will do everything but solve world hunger – sorry for sarcastic start to the email however it gets frustrating trying to educate employees as to why some equipment is a well researched and bona fide solution & why others are just plain trash.
We had the exact same type of glove being attempted to be sold to a Chrysler facility about 10 years ago here in Canada. So I can see we have come full circle.
Adding any sort of added compression be it a glove or a wrist rest at or near the carpal tunnel and ulnar notch of the wrist will increase the pressures within the CT and the flexor tendons at the wrist. This has been shown to exacerbate underlying CTS or ulnar nerve symptoms.
Adding gloves which cover the sensitive palmer surface of the hand and fingers also decreases the sensotry feedback the brain needs to have at any one time.
So the bottom line is trust your instincts on this – and then alwyays go back to your anatomy, physiology and biomechanics basics. These are a scam – keep applying appropriate ergonomic principles to all aspects of this office and you will gain success over time
PS – can we all agree to stop using cumulative trauma disorder, repetative strain etc – these are misnomers – Musculoskeletal disorders is a more appropriate and accurate term for these symptoms and injuries.
JE Sleeth Sr Ergonomic Consultant & Physiotherapist, Canada
I have done quit a few workstaion assessments, and I have found the main reason for pain and discomfort in the wrist is due to poor computer station set up. I have helped many people set up their stations ergonomically correct and have response back from them saying how much it is helped. Rather then getting these gloves for everyone, I would review their workstations and how a person does their work and make improvements in this direction. These gloves might be good for a person who is already experiencing pain or discomfort and can be used till such time that the person has recovered from the injury. Good luck with your research.
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