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Burden of Work-Related Knee Disorders in Washington State, 1999 to 2007

Spector, June T. MD, MPH; Adams, Darrin BS; Silverstein, Barbara PhD, MPH, MSN

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: May 2011 - Volume 53 - Issue 5 - p 537–547
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e31821576ff
Original Articles

Objective: To describe the burden of knee work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs).

Methods: Knee WMSDs were identified using Washington State Fund workers' compensation data from 1999 to 2007 and analyzed by cost, industry, occupation, and claims incidence rates.

Results: Knee WMSDs accounted for 7% of WMSD claims and 10% of WMSD costs. The rate of decline in claims incidence rates for knee WMSDs was similar to the rate of decline for all other WMSDs. Industries at highest risk for knee WMSDs included construction and building contractors. Occupations of concern included carpenters and truck drivers in men and nursing aides and housekeepers in women.

Conclusions: Between 1999 and 2007, Washington State Fund knee WMSDs were widespread and associated with a large cost. Identification of specific occupational knee WMSD risk factors in high-risk industries is needed to guide prevention efforts.

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From the Occupational and Environmental Medicine Program (Dr Spector), University of Washington, Seattle, Wash and Safety and Health Assessment and Research for Prevention (SHARP) Program (Mr Adams and Dr Silverstein), Washington State Department of Labor and Industries, Olympia, Wash.

Address correspondence to: June T. Spector, MD, MPH, 325 9th Ave, Box 359739 Seattle, WA 98104 (

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©2011The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine