Purpose: This study investigates the handwriting performance of patients with carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) and healthy controls in office and administrative support occupations, adopting both biomechanical and functional perspectives. This work also explores how surgical intervention altered the performance of the CTS patients. Methods: Fourteen CTS patients and 14 control subjects were recruited to complete a self-reported survey and participate in sensory tests, hand strength, dexterity and handwriting tasks using a custom force acquisition pen along with motion capture technology. Based on the results of these, the sensory measurements, along with functional and biomechanical parameters, were used to determine the differences between the groups and also reveal any improvements that occurred in the CTS group after surgical intervention. Results: The CTS patients showed significantly poorer hand sensibility and dexterity than the controls, as well as excessive force exertion of the digits and pen tip, and less efficient force adjustment ability during handwriting. After surgery and sensory recovery, the hand dexterity and pen tip force of the CTS patients improved significantly. The force adjustment abilities of the digits also increased, but these changes were not statistically significant. Conclusions: This study provides the objective measurements and novel apparatus that can be used to determine impairments in the handwriting abilities of office or administrative workers with CTS. The results can also help clinicians or patients to better understand the sensory-related deficits in sensorimotor control of the hand related to CTS, and thus develop and implement more suitable training or adaptive protocols.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Occupational Therapy