Affiliations: School of Occupational Therapy, University of Puget Sound, Tacoma, Washington
Note:  This study was completed in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Occupational Therapy from the University of Puget Sound, Tacoma, Washington. It was funded in part by a grant from the University ofPuget Sound Enrichment Committee.
Abstract: Hand therapists perform hand-intensive work and engage in tasks that require movements and postures cited in the literature to be risk factors for the development of cumulative trauma disorders. This study was conducted to determine the incidence, prevalence, and types of work-related cumulative trauma disorders of the hand, wrist, and elbow experienced by occupational therapists whose primary area of practice is hand therapy. A survey was sent to a national random sample of 289 occupational therapists, 227 of whom responded. A total of 328 upper-extremity injuries/syndromes were reported by 165 (79 %) of the respondents; 62 % of those injuries occurred as a result of cumulative work trauma. This study identified hand therapy as another occupation where cumulative trauma disorders are common. It is crucial that hand therapists become cognizant of their occupational risks and limitations so that such painful and disabling conditions can be prevented.