Repetitive chopstick use may be doing damage to the joints, according to research recently presented at the American College of Rheumatology Annual Scientific Meeting. A study of 2500 Chinese adults with an average age of 60 found that daily use of chopsticks can lead to hand osteoarthritis (OA). Researchers said that chopsticks place stress on the joints in the first, second, and third fingers.
For the study, researchers questioned the participants on whether they were right-handed or left-handed and which hand they favored while eating with chopsticks or performing other grip-related activities. Also, the participants had hand x-rays to detect damage due to OA. The results showed that OA was more prevalent in the joints involved in chopstick use, compared with those not involved in chopstick use. Also, 26% of the participants had signs of OA in their thumb, and chopstick use was responsible for 20% of the risk of developing this condition in men and 37% in women.
Furthermore, participants who were ambidextrous but had a preferred hand for chopstick use were more likely to have OA in that preferred hand. This particular finding suggests that OA was the result of using chopsticks rather than other activities involving the hands.