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OBJECTIVES: Dupuytren's disease (DD) is a fibroproliferative disorder of the hands, characterised by the development of fibrous nodules and cords that may cause disabling contractures of the fingers. The role of manual work exposure in the aetiology of DD is controversial. We investigated whether current occupational exposure to manual work is associated with DD, and if there is a dose-response relationship. METHODS: In this population-based cohort analysis, we used data from the UK Biobank cohort. Our primary outcome was the presence of DD. The exposure of interest was manual work, measured for each participant in two different ways to allow two independent analyses to be undertaken: (1) the current manual work status of the occupation at the time of recruitment, and (2) a cumulative manual work exposure score, calculated based on the occupational history. We performed propensity score matching and applied a logistic regression model. RESULTS: We included 196 265 participants for the current manual work analysis, and 96 563 participants for the dose-response analysis. Participants whose current occupation usually/always involved manual work were more often affected with DD than participants whose occupation sometimes/never involved manual work (OR 1.29, 95% CI 1.12 to 1.49, p<0.001). There was a positive dose-response relationship between cumulative manual work exposure score and DD. Each increment in cumulative work exposure score increased the odds by 17% (OR 1.17, 95% CI 1.08 to 1.27, p<0.001). CONCLUSIONS: Manual work exposure is a risk factor for DD, with a clear dose-response relationship. Physicians treating patients should recognise DD as a work-related disorder and inform patients accordingly.

Original publication




Journal article


Occup environ med

Publication Date



Occupational Health, Preventive medicine