OBJECTIVES: To evaluate activity limitations before and after carpal tunnel release among patients with and without diabetes, to explore differences between genders and the influence of grip strength on activity limitations. DESIGN: Prospective case-control study. PATIENTS: Thirty-three patients with diabetes and carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) were age and gender matched with 30 patients without diabetes having idiopathic CTS. METHODS: Activity limitations were assessed pre-operatively, 3 and 12 months after surgery, with the self-administered Evaluation of Daily Activities Questionnaire (EDAQ) containing 102 activity items in 11 dimensions and 3 additional male-activity-oriented dimensions including 22 items. RESULTS: For all dimensions the mean score was higher for patients with diabetes compared with patients without diabetes. This indicates a more pronounced activity limitation for patients with diabetes. However, no statistical differences between the two groups could be demonstrated. In general, females have significantly higher activity limitation scores than males. CONCLUSION: CTS creates a broad variety of activity limitations for affected patients. After carpal tunnel release a significant alleviation of these limitations occurs within the first 3 months. Activity limitations seem not to be related to diabetes, but were more pronounced in women than in men, probably due to reduced grip strength
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