Upper Extremity Cumulative Trauma Disorders (UECTD)

Last Updated: October 25, 2020

Definition - What does Upper Extremity Cumulative Trauma Disorders (UECTD) mean?

Upper Extremity Cumulative Trauma Disorders (UECTD) are musculoskeletal injuries or damage to the shoulder, arm, elbow, wrist, hands, and fingers. UECTDs are caused by conditions that impose excessive strain or stress on the body. In the workplace, these injuries may develop over time. Repeated job tasks and other ergonomic risk factors can cause UECTDs. Examples of upper extremity cumulative trauma disorders include compressed or impinged nerves, tendonitis, tennis or golfer's elbow, and carpel tunnel syndrome. Cumulative trauma disorders may also be referred to as repetitive strain injuries, overuse injuries, or repetitive motion injuries.

WorkplaceTesting explains Upper Extremity Cumulative Trauma Disorders (UECTD)

Collectively, cumulative trauma disorders are the leading cause of occupational disease in the United States. Injuries to the bones, joints, connective tissues, circulatory, and nervous systems may all be subject to cumulative trauma disorders.

However, these injuries are not always caused by repetitive motions. Awkward posture, forceful motions, and over-exertion may also cause an upper extremity cumulative trauma disorder (UECTD).

Ergonomic hazards in the workplace are a main cause of UECTDs. Upper extremity cumulative trauma disorders may occur in any workplace setting, including industrial or office workspaces. Improperly sized desks, non-ergonomic keyboards, and inefficient tools may all cause musculoskeletal disorders to develop, often without the employee realizing it is developing until the damage is already done.

Cumulative trauma disorders in the workplace may be prevented by ensuring that workers are provided with appropriate tools and equipment. Permitting recovery time between repetitive actions, changing tasks to prevent excessive exposure to ergonomic hazards, and improving employee training are additional methods of reducing the occurrence of cumulative trauma disorders in the workplace.

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