R. Hamilton

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A COMPARISON OF MEDIAN NERVE COMPRESSION SYMPTOMS BETWEEN FIRST-YEAR AND FOURTH-YEAR KINESIOLOGY STUDENTS R. Hamilton Department of Kinesiology. The University of Texas at Arlington, Arlington Texas 76019 BACKGROUND The median nerve is one of three nerves that control the intrinsic muscles of the hand. The median nerve may become compressed within the carpal tunnel of the wrist, the most common manifestation being carpal tunnel syndrome. Causes of median nerve compression (MNC) or carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) include pathological and habitual factors. Repetition and vibration seem to be prominent work-related risk factors in the development of CTS, however, more research is needed to clarify factorscausing the development of MNC and CTS. PURPOSEThe purpose of this study was to test first-year college students and fourth-year college students for symptoms of median nervecompression at the wrist and see if there were any significant differences. METHODSSubjects were asked to complete a survey containing questions regarding physical activity, average computer use, course workload, involvement in sport activities, and injuries to their wrists. Subjects also completed the Symptom Severity Scale and Functional Status Scale which asked them to rate the severity of symptoms and the pain when subjects performed activities involving their hands and wrists. Each subject then completed a Phalen’sManeuver and a Tinel’stest. Following the test, subjects asked if they experienced any pain, numbness, or tingling their hands or wrist. If yes, subjects were asked to mark the area of the symptom on a picture of a forearm. Measurements of wrist range of motion for each subject’s dominant wrist were taken, namely, flexion, extension, ulnar deviation, and radial deviation. Finally, grip strength was tested three times for each hand using a hand-held dynamometer. The statistical analysis used in this experiment was a standard t-test and the alpha level for significance was setat p <0.05). RESULTSThe first-year group was composed of eight males (M; 70.0 in ±2.56; 21.5 yrs. ±2.9, 177.8 lbs±19.4) and five females (F; 66.75 in ±1.5; 18.8 yrs. ±1.79; 139.6 lbs±7.64). The fourth-year group was composed of five males (69.4 in ±3.36; 23.4 yrs±3.71; 167.0 lbs±22.53) and nine females (64.7 in ±2.39; 23.0 yrs±1.22; 145.1 lbs±19.72). The range of motion values for the first-year group for flexion, extension, ulnar deviation, and radial deviation were 87.7 degrees ±20.13, 74.0 degrees ±10.65, 29.8 degrees ±14.77, and 11.8 degrees ±6.56, respectively. The average range of motion values for the fourth-year group for flexion, extension, ulnar deviation, and radial deviation were 85.4 degrees ±8.62, 73.1 degrees ±9.20, 27.9 degrees ±8.65, and 7.7 degrees ±5.01 respectively. The differences between the two groups were not significant (flexion: p=0.69, extension: p=0.81, ulnar deviation: p=0.67, radial deviation: p=0.08) The average grip strengths for the first-year group were 36.9 kg ±8.58 for the dominant hand and 35.6 kg ±10.14 for the non-dominant hand. The average hand grip strengths for the fourth-year group were 33.4 kg±10.68 for the dominant hand and 30.4 kg±9.24 for the non-dominant hand. The differences were not significant (dominant: p=0.35; non-dominant: p=0.18) The average SSS score, FSS score, and total SSS and FSS for the first-year group was 13.5 ±4.43, 9.2 ±2.19, and 22.7 ±5.50 respectively. The average SSS score, FSS score, and total SSS and FSS score for the fourth-year group was 11.7 ±1.33, 8.8 ±1.12, and 20.5 ±2.10 respectively. The results were not significant (SSS: p=0.15; FSS: p=0.58; Total: p=0.18). Three subjects in the first-year group tested positive for Phalen’s Maneuver (n=13) and zero for Tinel’s test (n=13). Two subjects in the first-year group tested positive for Phalen’s Maneuver (n=14) and one for Tinel’s test (n=14). CONCLUSION The results of this experiment indicate that although there were no significant differences between the two groups, the amount of course work taken as well as the average computer usage per day that may put an individual at risk for developing median nerve compression. More research is needed to see whether or not studying a subject that requires extensive computer or writing usage would put students at more of a risk for developing MNC.


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