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Clin Anat. 2017 May;30(4):470-478. doi: 10.1002/ca.22871. Epub 2017 Mar 25.

The influence of wrist posture, grip type, and grip force on median nerve shape and cross-sectional area.

Author information

1
School of Kinesiology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan.
2
Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Abstract

During grasping, the median nerve undergoes mechanical stress in the carpal tunnel which may contribute to carpal tunnel syndrome. This study investigated the effects of wrist posture, grip type, and grip force on the shape and cross-sectional area of the median nerve. Ultrasound examination was used to obtain cross-sectional images of the dominant wrist of 16 healthy subjects (8 male) at the proximal carpal tunnel during grasping. The cross-sectional area, circularity, and axis lengths of the median nerve were assessed in 27 different conditions (3 postures × 3 grip types × 3 force levels). There were no significant changes in median nerve cross-sectional area (P > 0.05). There were significant interactions across posture, grip type, and grip force affecting nerve circularity and axis lengths. When the wrist was flexed, increasing grip force caused the median nerve to shorten in the mediolateral direction and lengthen in the anteroposterior direction (P < 0.04), becoming more circular. These effects were significant during four finger pinch grip and chuck grip (P < 0.05) but not key grip (P > 0.07). With the wrist extended, the nerve became more flattened (less circular) as grip force increased during four finger pinch grip and chuck grip (P < 0.04) but not key grip (P > 0.3). Circularity was lower during the four finger pinch compared to chuck or key grip (P < 0.03). The findings suggest that grip type and wrist posture significantly alter the shape of the median nerve. Clin. Anat. 30:470-478, 2017.

KEYWORDS:

carpal tunnel syndrome; grip; median nerve; ultrasound; wrist

PMID:
28281294
DOI:
10.1002/ca.22871
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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