Effects of electronic device overuse by university students in relation to clinical status and anatomical variations of the median nerve and transverse carpal ligament

Eugenia Hoi Chi Woo, Peter White, Wai Keung Christopher Lai

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: This study investigates the results of a questionnaire, provocative tests, and ultrasonographic measurements of carpal tunnel morphological parameters in intensive and nonintensive electronic device users. Methods: Forty-eight university students (equal numbers of intensive and nonintensive users, ≥5 h/day and <5 h/day of electronic device usage, respectively) were randomly selected after questionnaire responses were received and evaluated clinically and by ultrasonography. All participants were right-handed. Results: Intensive users had significantly more positive results in Phalen's and Durkan's tests and reported more wrist/hand pain compared with nonintensive users (P < 0.05). Intensive users also had significantly larger median nerve cross-sectional areas, flattening ratios, and perimeters as well as greater bowing of the transverse carpal ligament compared with nonintensive users (P < 0.05). Discussion: Overuse of electronic devices may adversely affect the median nerve within the carpal tunnel and the transverse carpal ligament, resulting in numbness, tingling, and pain in the hand. Caution may be warranted when using handheld electronic devices. Muscle Nerve 56: 873–880, 2017.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)873-880
Number of pages8
JournalMuscle and Nerve
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2017


  • carpal tunnel syndrome
  • electronic device overuse
  • intensive users
  • median nerve
  • nonintensive users
  • transverse carpal ligament
  • ultrasonography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Physiology (medical)

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