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October 2021

Man Ther. 1997 Aug; 2(3): 157-164.

Overuse syndromes of the upper limb and the upper limb tension test: a comparison between patients, asymptomatic keyboard workers and asymptomatic non-keyboard workers.

Byng J.

Department of Physiotherapy, Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, London, UK

SUMMARY. Overuse syndromes of the upper limb (OSUL), also known as repetitive strain injury (RSI) remains a contentious issue that affects a large number of keyboard workers. This research used the results of a modified upper limb tension test (ULTT) performed on three independent groups to look for any similarities or discrepancies between them. The subjects were all female aged between 25-40 years, with groups consisting of 12 OSUL patients, 20 asymptomatic keyboard users and 19 asymptomatic non-keyboard users. The ULTT was positive in 100% of the patient group supporting several hypotheses that state that the pathology of OSUL is neurogenic in origin. The results of the two asymptomatic control groups were predicted to be the same, however this was not found to be the case. Unrelated t-tests were used to analyse the data showing that the keyboard users had a significantly positive ULTT compared to non-keyboard users, which were viewed as a normal control group. This suggests that a subclinical pathological state exists in the keyboard user group. Various subclinical physiological changes caused by prolonged sitting and keyboard use are suggested as possible causes for these results. This research highlights the need for intervention in an office environment to prevent further cases of OSUL from developing. Copyright 1997 Harcourt Publishers Ltd.

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