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J Hand Surg Eur Vol. 2012 Feb;37(2):123-9. doi: 10.1177/1753193411419952. Epub 2011 Sep 15.

Socioeconomic deprivation and the epidemiology of carpal tunnel syndrome.

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Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Queen Margaret Hospital, Whitefield Road, Dunfermline, UK.


Deprivation has been recognized as a major determinant of health and is associated with several musculoskeletal conditions. This study examines the effect of deprivation on the incidence of carpal tunnel syndrome using a regional prospective audit database. Over a 6 year period there were 1564 patients diagnosed with CTS with an annual incidence of 72/100,000 population. There was a significant difference in population incidence of CTS from the most deprived (81/100,000) to the least deprived (62/100,000) (p = 0.003). Functional impairment was higher in the most deprived group compared with the least (DASH 56 vs 48, p = 0.001). The most deprived group exhibited the greatest exposure to occupation vibration (42.7%), and had the greatest risk of bilateral disease (OR = 2.33, p < 0.001). We report an association between socioeconomic deprivation and carpal tunnel syndrome, with the disease being more likely to be bilateral and have a poorer DASH score in the most deprived patients.

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