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A Longitudinal Study of Industrial and Clerical Workers: Predictors of Upper Extremity Tendonitis


Upper extremity tendonitis (UET) associated with work activity is common but the true incidence and risk factors can best be determined by a prospective cohort study. This study followed a cohort of 501 active workers for an average of 5.4 years. Incident cases were defined as workers who were asymptomatic at baseline testing and had no prior history of UET and went on to be diagnosed with an UET during the follow-up period or at the follow-up evaluation. The incident cases were compared to the subset of the cohort who also had no history of an UET and did not develop tendonitis during the study. The cumulative incidence in this cohort was 24.3% or 4.5% annually. The factors found to have the highest predictive value for identifying a person who is likely to develop an UET in the near future included age over 40, a BMI over 30, a complaint at baseline of a shoulder or neck discomfort, a history of CTS and a job with a higher shoulder posture rating. The risk profile identifies both ergonomic and personal health factors as risks and both categories of factors may be amenable to prevention strategies.

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Correspondence to Robert A. Werner.

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Werner, R.A., Franzblau, A., Gell, N. et al. A Longitudinal Study of Industrial and Clerical Workers: Predictors of Upper Extremity Tendonitis. J Occup Rehabil 15, 37–46 (2005).

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  • cumulative trauma disorders
  • musculoskeletal diseases
  • tendonitis
  • occupational diseases