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The epidemiology of agriculture-related osteoarthritis and its impact upon occupational disability.
Kirkhom S; Greenlee RT; Reeser JC
WMJ 2003 Jan; 102(7):38-44
Hip and knee osteoarthritis and undiagnosed chronic joint pain are more prevalent in agricultural workers than other occupational groups, significantly impacting the ability of small farm operators and farm workers to maintain a livelihood. Agricultural risk factors, economic impacts, national and state AgrAbility data, gender, and farm/non-farm prevalence differences of arthritis and joint arthropathy in a Wisconsin farm cohort are reviewed. Agricultural workers (primarily male) are at increased risk for developing osteoarthritis of the hip and knee. In Wisconsin, the prevalence rate of osteoarthritis is higher in a male farm vs. a male rural non-farm cohort. Arthritis comprises 10%-12% of the disability referrals to state and national AgrAbility programs. Back pain, joint injury, and orthopedic injury account for another 38%. The ability to perform agricultural job duties is significantly affected by arthritis and lack of access to health care. Obesity is an additional independent risk factor for osteoarthritis in the rural population. The agricultural work force is at particular risk for arthritis-related disability. Improved access to health care for diagnosis and treatment can lessen disability. Prevention of arthritis is multi-factorial, involving ergonomic improvements, lifestyle modification to prevent obesity, and adequate medical treatment of arthritis.
Epidemiology; Agricultural-workers; Agricultural-industry; Agriculture; Disabled-workers; Knee-disorders; Knee-injuries; Farmers; Injuries; Risk-factors; Demographic-characteristics; Sex-factors; Musculoskeletal-system-disorders
Steven Kirkhorn, MD, MPH, Medical Directory, National Farm Medicine Center, Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation, 1000 N. Oak Ave., Marshfield, WI 54449
Agriculture; Cooperative Agreement
Issue of Publication
Wisconsin Medical Journal
Marshfield Medical Research & Education Foundation, Marshfield, Wisconsin
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division