Tenosynovitis in Women in Industry
SHATTUCK W. HARTWELL, M.D.
Department of Plastic Surgery
ROBERT D. LARSEN, M.D.
JOSEPH L. POSCH, M.D.
SURGEONS interested in surgery of the hand and who practice in large industrial communities are aware that today’s industrially employed women often become afflicted with tenosynovitis of one or more tendons about the hand and wrist. The age of the woman and the rate at which she works seem to be the major factors that affect the problem. With the expansion of types of industrial skills, and the increasing speed of operation of mechanical apparatus, the incidence of tenosynovitis also has increased.1,2 This report is based on a study of 50 women, 38 of whom were employed.
It has been the practice of the authors to treat posttraumatic tenosynovitis nonoperatively at first. One or two injections of hydrocortisone acetate into the area of tenosynovitis frequently will be curative.3 Splinting of the hand, warm hand baths two or three times daily, and mild analgesics often will produce permanent improvement. Ultrasonic therapy or roentgentherapy has not proved successful in our experience. The 50 patients who comprise the series, for this report, failed to respond to the initially administered conservative treatment.4
All case reports of nonsuppurative or traumatic or posttraumatic tenosynovitis or fasciitis occurring in women who were admitted to The Grace Hospital (Central Unit) of Detroit, Michigan, during the years 1956 through 1960 were reviewed; the total was 50 cases. It was found that the only instances of tenosynovitis were those involving the hands. There was one case of “tennis elbow.” Thirty-eight women were employed in various industries; 12 patients were. . .