Osteoarthritis – the most common chronic joint condition, which causes joints to become painful and stiff. It’s been known for a long time that osteoarthritis is a somewhat of an occupational condition – people from some jobs are more likely to suffer from it.
Now scientists the Universities of Sydney, Oxford and Southampton identified jobs that can be linked to increased risk of knee osteoarthritis.
Osteoarthritis will destroy your knees. Treatment options are limited and at some point knee replacement is the only option. These kind of surgeries are a huge burden on patients and societies. Loss of mobility, inability to work and just overall pain – it’s just not good. However, if we are certain that some activities are causing knee osteoarthritis, we can try to improve these situations, avoiding this issue or at least reducing its instances.
An international team of scientists performed the biggest meta-analysis and systematic review of the potentially debilitating knee osteoarthritis. This research included 71 studies and almost one million people. Scientists paid a lot of attention to common jobs, including those that are not paid, such as being a stay-at-home parent. Unsurprisingly, people who spend a lot of time on their knees are way more likely to get knee osteoarthritis.
For example, floor-layers, bricklayers and carpenters have about 2.5 times increased chances of getting knee osteoarthritis compared to sedentary workers. Other construction workers are facing an increased risk by 63 %. Meanwhile agricultural workers are 64 % more likely to get knee osteoarthritis than sedentary workers.
Not all physical jobs are associated with knee osteoarthritis. Scientists didn’t find that commerce, forestry or fishery workers, machine operators, plumbers, electricians, technicians or postmen would be facing an increased risk of knee osteoarthritis. However, houseworkers (such as stay-at-home parents) have up to 93% increased odds. Scientists say that all activities that involve excessive kneeling, squatting, standing, lifting and climbing stairs are likely to contribute to knee osteoarthritis.
Of course, if your job requires constant kneeling, there isn’t much you can do. However, you have to understand the risk and manage it. Use knee protection – knee pads or kneeling pads. Also, invest in tools that will reduce the time required to be on your knees. Finally, maybe a career, where you have to be on your knees all the time is not the best choice for you long-term? Maybe after some years you should assess what your other options are.
Source: University of Sydney