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Associations of hip osteoarthritis with history of recurrent exposure to manual handling of loads over 20 kg and work participation: a population-based study of men and women
  1. Leena Kaila-Kangas1,
  2. Jari Arokoski2,
  3. Olli Impivaara3,
  4. Eira Viikari-Juntura1,
  5. Päivi Leino-Arjas1,
  6. Ritva Luukkonen1,
  7. Markku Heliövaara3
  1. 1Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Helsinki, Finland
  2. 2Department of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine, Kuopio University Hospital, Kuopio, Finland and the Institute of Clinical Medicine, University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio, Finland
  3. 3National Institute for Health and Welfare, Helsinki, Finland
  1. Correspondence to Leena Kaila-Kangas, Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Topeliuksenkatu 41 a A, FI-00250 Helsinki, Finland; leena.kaila-kangas{at}


Objectives We reviewed work histories of manual handling of loads >20 kg in relation to hip osteoarthritis by age, exposure and work participation.

Methods A nationally representative sample of 3110 Finnish men and 3446 women aged 30–97 was recruited. Diagnosis of hip osteoarthritis was based on standardised clinical examination by trained physicians. Previous exposure to physically loading work was evaluated through interviews. Logistic regression was used to estimate associations between work factors and hip osteoarthritis.

Results 1.9% of men and 2.1% of women had hip osteoarthritis. Almost half the men and a quarter of the women had recurrently handled heavy loads at work. Subjects who had manually handled loads >20 kg had a 1.8-fold increased risk of hip osteoarthritis compared to non-exposed references, when age, body mass index, traumatic fractures and smoking were accounted for. Results were similar for men (OR 2.0; 95% CI 1.0 to 4.0) and women (1.8; 1.1 to 2.8). In a sub-analysis of subjects with hip replacement, the OR was 1.7 (1.0 to 2.9). Risk increased first after 12 years' exposure: among men it was 2.2 (0.8 to 5.9) for 13–24 years' exposure, and 2.3 (1.2 to 4.3) for >24 years' exposure. Among women it was 3.8 (1.7 to 8.1) for 13–24 years' exposure. Work participation among men aged <60 years with hip osteoarthritis was 20% lower compared with subjects without osteoarthritis.

Conclusions A work history of manual handling of loads >20 kg showed a strong association with hip osteoarthritis in all age groups except the youngest.

  • Epidemiology
  • public health
  • musculoskeletal
  • gender
  • physical work
  • epidemiology
  • public health
  • musculoskeletal
  • gender
  • physical work

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  • Funding This work was supported by the Finnish Work Environment Fund (no. 106293) and the Farmers' Social Insurance Institution (no. 0527).

  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethics approval This study was conducted with the approval of the Ethics Committee for Epidemiology and Public Health of the hospital district of Helsinki and Uusimaa in Finland.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.