Gliding resistance of flexor tendon associated with carpal tunnel pressure: A biomechanical cadaver study

Chunfeng Zhao, Anke M. Ettema, Lawrence J. Berglund, Kai Nan An, Peter C. Amadio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of carpal tunnel pressure on the gliding characteristics of flexor tendons within the carpal tunnel. Eight fresh human cadaver wrists and hands were used. A balloon was inserted into the carpal tunnel to elevate the pressure. The mean gliding resistance of the middle finger flexor digitorum superficialis tendon was measured with the following six conditions: (1) as a baseline, before balloon insertion; (2) balloon with 0ammHg pressure; (3) 30ammHg; (4) 60ammHg; (5) 90ammHg; (6) 120ammHg. The gliding resistance of flexor tendon gradually increased as the carpal tunnel pressure was elevated. At pressures above 60ammHg, the increase in gliding resistance became significant compared to the baseline condition. This study helps us to understand the relationship between carpal tunnel pressure, which is elevated in the patient with carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) and tendon gliding resistance, which is a component of the work of flexion. These findings suggest that patients with CTS may have to expend more energy to accomplish specific motions, which may in turn affect symptoms of hand pain, weakness and fatigue, seen commonly in such patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)58-61
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Orthopaedic Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2011


  • carpal tunnel syndrome
  • flexor tendon

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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