Affiliations: Department of Labor/OSHA, Boston, Massachusetts | Work Environmental Department, University of Massachusetts at Lowell, Lowell, Massachusetts
Abstract: Commercial wrist splints do not constitute an ergonomic control for stressors associated with carpal tunnel syndrome. The science of ergonomics seeks to change the environment, not the human, in an effort to fit the work requirements to the capabilities of the individual. In contrast, immobilization of the wrist seeks to change the worker while the work environment exposures remain unchanged. Given this caveat, do wrist splints play a preventive role in the work environment with respect to the control of physical stressors that are likely to cause or exacerbate carpal tunnel syndrome? In an effort to provide an answer to this question, this article will provide a short synopsis of carpal tunnel syndrome as it relates to its diagnosis, occurrence in industry, and conservative treatment; a brief review of splinting as conservative treatment and an overview of the effect of wrist immobilization on physical stressors.