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Prevalence and Incidence of Stenosing Flexor Tenosynovitis (Trigger Finger) in a Meat-Packing Plant

Gorsche, Ron MD, MMedSc; Wiley, J. Preston MPE, MD; Renger, Ralph PhD; Brant, Rollin PhD; Gemer, Tara Y. BSc; Sasyniuk, Treny M. BPE

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: June 1998 - Volume 40 - Issue 6 - p 556-560
Original Articles

The purpose of this study was to determine the prevalence and incidence of trigger finger (TF) in a meat-packing plant and explore the relationship between hand-tool use and the development of TF. A cross-sectional study was competed wherein 665 workers were interviewed and examined to determine the point prevalence. Subsequently, 454 TF-negative workers were followed up and examined twice at a median interval of 255 days. The point prevalence of TF was 14%. The person-year incidence rate was 12.4% and 2.6% for tool use and non-tool use workers, respectively. Forty-three cases of TF (75.2%) in the incidence arm of the study used a hand tool, for a relative risk of 4.7 (P< 0.002; 95% confidence interval, 1.5-23.9). Although a significant relationship was found between ethnicity and the presence of TF in the prevalence data, this was not confirmed in the incidence study. There is an increased prevalence of TF in this meat-packing plant and high worker turnover may underestimate the true prevalence rates. Hand-tool use increases the risk of developing TF.

From the Departments of Community Health Science and Family Medicine (Dr Gorsche), the Department of Community Health (Dr Brant), Faculty of Medicine, and the Faculty of Kinesiology (Dr Wiley, Ms Gemer, Ms Sasyniuk), Sport Medicine Center, The University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada; and the Arizona Prevention Center, College of Medicine, University of Arizona, Tucson, Ariz. (Dr Renger).

Address correspondence to: Ron Gorsche, MD, MMedSc, Box 5580, 117 MacLeod Trail, High River, Alberta, Canada, T1V 1 M6.

© Williams & Wilkins 1998. All Rights Reserved.