Occupation and epicondylitis: a population-based study.
Walker-Bone K., Palmer KT., Reading I., Coggon D., Cooper C.
To explore the relationship between occupational exposures and lateral and medial epicondylitis, and the effect of epicondylitis on sickness absence in a population sample of working-aged adults.This was a cross-sectional study of 9696 randomly selected adults aged 25-64 years involving a screening questionnaire and standardized physical examination. Age- and sex-specific prevalence rates of epicondylitis were estimated and associations with occupational risk factors explored.Among 6038 respondents, 636 (11%) reported elbow pain in the last week. Of those surveyed, 0.7% were diagnosed with lateral epicondylitis and 0.6% with medial epicondylitis. Lateral epicondylitis was associated with manual work [odds ratio (OR) 4.0, 95% CI 1.9, 8.4]. In multivariate analyses, repetitive bending/straightening elbow >1 h day was independently associated with lateral (OR 2.5, 95% CI 1.2, 5.5) and medial epicondylitis (OR 5.1, 95% CI 1.8, 14.3). Five per cent of adults with epicondylitis took sickness absence because of their elbow symptoms in the past 12 months (median 29 days).Repetitive exposure to bending/straightening the elbow was a significant risk factor for medial and lateral epicondylitis. Epicondylitis is associated with prolonged sickness absence in 5% of affected working-aged adults.