Medial Epicondylitis in Occupational Settings: Prevalence, Incidence and Associated Risk Factors

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Learning ObjectivesRecall the approximate prevalence of medial epicondylitis in this study of workers required by their jobs to make repetitive movements, as well as the incidence in those re-examined after 3 years.Specify the clinical, demographic, and work-related factors associated with medial epicondylitis in this study population.Discuss the outlook for workers with medial epicondylitis and the place of this condition in the spectrum of work-related musculoskeletal disorders of the upper extremity.Because medial epicondylitis has not been studied alone, we investigated its links between personal and occupational factors in repetitive work and its course. A total of 1757 workers were examined by an occupational health physician in 1993–1994. Five hundred ninety-eight of them were reexamined 3 years later. Prevalence was between 4% and 5%, with an annual incidence estimate at 1.5%. Forceful work was a risk factor (odds ratio [OR], 1.95; confidence interval [CI] = 1.15–3.32), but not exposure to repetitive work (OR, 1.11; CI = 0.59–2.10). Workers with medial epicondylitis had a significantly higher prevalence of other work-related upper-limb musculoskeletal disorders (WRMD). Risk factors differed for medial and lateral epicondylitis. The prognosis for medial epicondylitis in this population was good with a 3-year recovery rate at 81%. Medial epicondylitis was clearly associated with forceful work and other upper-limb WRMD, and its prognosis was good.

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