OBJECTIVES: During formula 1 driving, repetitive cumulative trauma may provoke nerve disorders such as nerve compression syndrome as well as osteoligament injuries. A study based on interrogatory and clinical examination of 22 drivers was carried out during the 1998 formula 1 World Championship in order to better define the type and frequency of these lesions. METHODS: The questions investigated nervous symptoms, such as paraesthesia and diminishment of sensitivity, and osteoligamentous symptoms, such as pain, specifying the localisation (ulnar side, dorsal aspect of the wrist, snuff box) and the effect of the wrist position on the intensity of the pain. Clinical examination was carried out bilaterally and symmetrically. RESULTS: Fourteen of the 22 drivers reported symptoms. One suffered cramp in his hands at the end of each race and one described a typical forearm effort compartment syndrome. Six drivers had effort "osteoligamentous" symptoms: three scapholunate pain; one medial hypercompression of the wrist; two sequellae of a distal radius fracture. Seven reported nerve disorders: two effort carpal tunnel syndromes; one typical carpal tunnel syndrome; one effort cubital tunnel syndrome; three paraesthesia in all fingers at the end of a race, without any objective signs. CONCLUSIONS: This appears to be the first report of upper extremity disorders in competition drivers. The use of a wrist pad to reduce the effects of vibration may help to prevent trauma to the wrist in formula 1 drivers.
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