Objectives To study the association between upper extremity physical requirements (UEPR) at workplace and soft tissue lessions.
Methods A retrospective analysis (from 1–01–95 to 31–12–99) was carried out comparing temporal disability due to lateral, medial epicondylitis (LE), (ME) and shoulder tendinitis (ST) in two factories with different UEPR: a shipyard of 305 workers (AS) with high UEPR and a nuclear components manufacturing plant of 405 workers (EN) with low/medium UEPR. The UEPR were estimated by the investigators, as low, medium and high according to the repetitive and force work in the upper extremity.
Results All patients were male. Median age was 49 years (range: 33 to 52) in AS and 51 (25 to 60) in EN. Nineteen (6,2%) cases were diagnosed in AS (10 ST, 8 LE and 1 ME), and only 9 (2,2%) in EN (7 ST and 2 LE) (p = 0.009). The cases were classified according to the factory and to the level of UEPR as follow:
AS/EN Low (2/5) Medium (6/3) High (11/1).
Annual and cummulative (95–99) risk proportion (%) were (see Table 1):
An association between the type of factory (EN or AS) and the level of UEPR was observed, being the latter higher in AS (p = 0.04). Relative risk of suffering LE, ME and ST was 2.8 (IC95: 1,3–6,1) in AS. Dominant side was affected in most cases 22 (79%), (p = 0.002).
Conclusion Our data suggest that tasks with high UEPR have a relevant role in soft tissue lessions of the upper extremity and they are more frequent in the dominant side.
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