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Carpal tunnel syndrome in the workplace. Triggers, coping strategies, and economic impact: A qualitative study from the perspective of women manual workers

J Hand Ther. 2023 Aug 15:S0894-1130(23)00081-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jht.2023.06.003. Online ahead of print.


BACKGROUND: Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) may lead to significant work limitations, especially in female manual workers. There is scarce evidence on the perspective of female manual workers with CTS.

PURPOSE: To explore the perspective of female workers who suffer from CTS regarding triggers, coping strategies, and economic impact.

STUDY DESIGN: A qualitative phenomenological study was conducted involving 18 manual workers with CTS diagnosed by the neurology service of a public hospital.

METHODS: Purposive sampling was applied, and data were collected using in-depth interviews and researchers’ notes. An inductive thematic analysis was applied to identify themes reflecting the participants’ experience. Guba and Lincoln criteria were applied to establish the trustworthiness of the data.

RESULTS: The mean age of participants was 40.06 years (SD 9.86). Four themes were identified: (a) coping with work limitations; (b) work activities that aggravate symptoms; (c) relationships at work; and (d) the economic burden of CTS. The effect of work on CTS, daily constraints, work situations that trigger the symptoms, and the strategies used by participants to adapt to their work are described. In addition, they recounted how relationships with managers and coworkers are modified and how CTS affects family finances.

CONCLUSIONS: The findings describe aggravating factors among working women, coping strategies used, and the social and occupational impact of CTS.

PMID:37591728 | DOI:10.1016/j.jht.2023.06.003


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