Medical engineering & physics | 11 Sep 2013
JZ Wu, EW Sinsel, JF Shroyer, DE Welcome, KD Zhao, KN An and FL Buczek
Strong evidence indicates that highly repetitive manual work is associated with the development of upper extremity musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). One of the occupational activities that involves highly repetitive and forceful hand work is manual pipetting in chemical or biological laboratories. In the current study, we quantified tendon displacement as a parameter to assess the cumulative loading exposure of the musculoskeletal system in the thumb during pipetting. The maximal tendon displacement was found in the flexor pollicis longus (FPL) tendon. Assuming that subjects' pipetting rates were maintained constant during a period of 1h, the average accumulated tendon displacement in the FPL reached 29m, which is in the lower range of those observed in other occupational activities, such as typing and nail gun operations. Our results showed that tendon displacement data contain relatively small standard deviations, despite high variances in thumb kinematics, suggesting that the tendon displacements may be useful in evaluating the musculoskeletal loading profile.
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