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Plast Reconstr Surg. 2003 Dec;112(7):1815-22; discussion 1823-4.

Musculotendinous anomalies in musician and nonmusician hands.

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  • 1Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, England, United Kingdom.


Musculoskeletal abnormalities of musicians' hands and upper extremities are well-recognized and potentially career-threatening problems. Of the many types of potentiality problematic musculoskeletal disorders that could be assessed, this study focused on joint instability and musculotendinous anomalies. For this study, the hands of 92 music students were compared with the hands of 64 nonmusician control subjects. Flexor anomalies were observed much more frequently than extensor musculotendinous anomalies; clinical evidence of the Linburg-Comstock anomaly was noted for 60 to 70 percent of subjects in both groups. Further analysis of the Linburg-Comstock anomaly demonstrated that the sites of pain among test-positive subjects were variable, test positivity was more frequent in the left hand and among string players, and test positivity tended to decrease from the radial side to the ulnar side of the hand. There were only two definite extensor musculotendinous anomalies (1.3 percent), and both involved a subluxating extensor mechanism affecting the little fingers. Forty-three percent of all subjects exhibited a degree of instability affecting the joints of their hands.

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