The subsynovial connective tissue (SSCT) in the carpal tunnel may participate in the origin of carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS), yet material properties of the SSCT have not been well-characterized. We investigated the response of the SSCT to repeated ramp stretch tests. Eight human cadaver wrists were used. The physiological excursion of the flexor digitorum superficialis of the third digit (FDS 3) was measured, starting from a neutral position to maximal flexion of the metacarpophalangeal and proximal interphalangeal joints. The FDS 3 tendon was pulled to 40%, 60%, 90%, and 120% of the physiological excursion. Two "ramp stretch" cycles were performed at every excursion level, except for 120% of excursion, where three cycles were performed. The ratio of energy absorbed between the second (E2) and first (E1) ramp stretch was 0.94 (SD = 0.07) for 60%, 0.84 (SD = 0.11) for 90%, and 0.68 (SD = 0.11) for 120% of the physiological excursion. A significant decrease occurred in energy absorbed after the first ramp stretch cycle at 90% and 120% of the physiological excursion, which was not seen at 60%. Our data are consistent with a stepwise damage occurring in the SSCT. Furthermore, the damage seems to initiate within the physiological range of tendon excursion. This finding may be important in understanding the pathophysiology of conditions that are associated with SSCT pathology, such as carpal tunnel syndrome.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine