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Job-Related Osteoarthritis of the Knee, Foot, Hand, and Cervical Spine

Bernard, Thomas E. PhD; Wilder, Frances Vaughn PhD; Aluoch, Marilyn MSN, MPH; Leaverton, Paul E. PhD

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: January 2010 - Volume 52 - Issue 1 - p 33-38
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e3181c40e98
Original Articles

Objectives: To assess the influence of occupational exposures on risk of site-specific radiographic osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee, hand, foot, and cervical spine.

Methods: Using a cross-sectional design, data collected from men and women aged 40 years and older participating in the Clearwater Osteoarthritis Study were analyzed (n = 3436). Subjects' occupational exposures were queried using the study intake form, including stair climbing, standing on a rigid surface, squatting, and jolting. Physical examinations including radiographs of the knee, hand, foot, and cervical spine were conducted. The Kellgren and Lawrence ordinal scale was used to determine evidence of radiographic OA.

Results: Both the unadjusted and adjusted odds ratios (ORs) for men and women indicated that age and body mass index were associated with OA. There were no other significant odds ratios for the cervical spine. Among men, there were significant associations with knee OA for stair climbing and jolting of the legs and with foot OA with stair climbing. Among women, there was a significant association between standing on a rigid surface and knee OA. For hand OA in women, there was a significant association for jolting of the hands.

Conclusions: Although the association with stair climbing was found in other investigations for knee OA, it was also associated with foot OA in this study. In addition, the jolting feature was seen in only one other study for men (knees) and novel for women (hands).

From the Department of Environmental and Occcupational Health (Dr Bernard) and the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics (Dr Leaverton), College of Public Health, University of South Florida, Tampa, Fla; The Arthritis Research Institute of America (Dr Wilder, Dr Leaverton), Clearwater, Fla; and College of Nursing (Ms Aluoch), University of South Florida, Tampa, Fla.

Address correspondence to: Thomas E. Bernard, PhD, College of Public Health, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL; E-mail:

©2010The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine