Research Article

Carpal tunnel syndrome, humeral epicondylitis, and the cervical spine: a study of clinical and dimensional relations.

Br Med J 1976; 1 doi: (Published 12 June 1976) Cite this as: Br Med J 1976;1:1439
  1. C F Murray-Leslie,
  2. V Wright


    Forty-three patients with idiopathic carpal tunnel syndrome, confirmed by nerve conduction studies and treated by surgery, were compared clinically and radiologically with 43 age- and sex-matched control patients. Patients with carpal tunnel syndrome had a significantly greater prevalence of lateral humeral epicondylitis (tennis elbow) (33%) than controls (7%). Randomised reading of the cervical spine radiographs in ignorance of the groups to which they belonged showed no significant difference in the prevalence of either intervertebral disc degeneration or intraforaminal osteophyte protruion using conventional grading methods. Measurement of the minimum anteroposterior diameter of the cervical spinal canal, the anteroposterior diameters of the cervical vertebral bodies, and the ratio of intervertebral disc height to adjacent vertebral body height in the cervical spine, however, showed a consistent trend to smaller measurements in the carpal tunnel group. Differences were significant at several vertebral levels in each of these dimensions. The narrowing of the intervertebral discs relative to the vertebral bodies in patients with carpal tunnel syndrome may indicate connective tissue changes, which might also occur in the common extensor origin at the elbow or in the contents of the carpal tunnel.