Occupations with long-term physical strain increase risk of osteoarthritis
The findings are included in a long-term study of Danish workers and were published in the May 2012 issue of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. It points to specific occupations that may contribute to hip and knee osteoarthritis.
The researchers looked at the register data of the entire Danish working population from 1981 to 2006, followed up for hip or knee osteoarthritis from 1996 to 2006. It found health care assistants had especially high risks of knee osteoarthritis.
The study is said to be among the first that looks at women in particular. It included workers in the following occupations:
- Floor layers/bricklayers/pavers.
- Construction workers.
- Health care assistants, nursing assistants, nursing aides, and other health caretakers.
Results. In general, the researchers said the risk estimates were higher for men than women. The exception was among construction workers "where the risk estimates of knee osteoarthritis are similar or even slightly higher for women."
Female health care assistants who had worked for more than five years had an increased risk of developing knee and hip osteoarthritis, the study said. The risk for knee osteoarthritis was twofold in female construction workers who had worked for at least six years.
Among male workers, floor layers and bricklayers had an increased risk of developing knee osteoarthritis. Male farmers had an increased risk of hip osteoarthritis after one to five years of work, and a threefold increased risk after 10 years. Male health care assistants had an elevated risk of developing knee and hip osteoarthritis only if they had worked for more than 10 years.
"Construction, farming and healthcare work compared to office work increases the risk of osteoarthritis in both men and women," the study said. "Further, our results indicate that the risk of osteoarthritis increases with cumulative years in the occupation."
Read more at the WorkersComp Forum homepage.
May 21, 2012
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