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Folia Morphol (Warsz). 2019;78(1):182-190. doi: 10.5603/FM.a2018.0049. Epub 2018 May 26.

Hand anthropometry in patients with carpal tunnel syndrome: a case-control study with a matched control group of healthy volunteers.

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2nd Department of General Surgery, Jagiellonian University Medical College, Krakow, Poland.
Department of Anthropology, Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland.
Department of Anatomy, Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland.
University Hospital, Jagiellonian University Medical College, Krakow, Poland.
Department of Anatomy, Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland.



The aim of this study was to perform anthropometrical measure- ments of patients' hands with carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) in order to evaluate if there is a correlation between CTS occurrence and hand features regarding sexual dimorphism, age and physical activity.


Study sample consisted of 48 patients (33 females) and control group included 80 healthy volunteers (58 females) with no history of CTS. The following measurements were performed: the wrist circumference, length of the hand, the hand's width, width of the wrist, thickness of the wrist, height of the hypothenar and thenar, length of the arm and forearm, circumference of the proximal phalanges and width of the digits; as well as several indexes were calculated i.e.: body mass index (BMI), shape index, digit index, wrist index, hand length/height ratio (HLH-ratio) and hand length/upper limb length ratio (HLULL-ratio).


Correlation coincidences were analysed between circumferences within the hand, palm and body weight. All parameters except fingers were correlated with body weight in either gender in both groups (p < 0.05; r = 0.40-0.80); Furthermore, width of the hand was correlated with body height (p < 0.001; r = 0.56-0.71). Mean values of wrist index for CTS patients were: males: 0.8, females: 0.74 (significantly higher than in healthy individuals and indicating square shape); shape index: males 76.5, females 75.8; digit index: males 55.7, females 56.5. The calculated HLH-ratio in CTS group was: males 10.6, females 10.9; HLULL-ratio: males 23.6, females 24.9 and they did not differ significantly from healthy volunteers. Almost 90.0% of females with diagnosed CTS have BMI > 25.0 kg/m2.


There are significant differences in morphometrical features of the upper limbs between CTS patients and healthy individuals. Hands of patients with CTS are more massive and with 'plumb' fingers and square shape of the wrist. Furthermore, higher BMI values were confirmed to be predisposing factors in CTS occurrence.


anthropometry; carpal tunnel syndrome; hand measurements; risk factor; shape index; wrist

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