Background: Different types of farming and farm work were studied in relation to the occurrence of osteoarthritis of the hip joint in a cohort of farmers.
Methods: A group of 427 farmers with hip joint osteoarthritis were identified together with a matched control group of farmers without hip or knee problems. All were invited to an interview and physical examination. After a dropout of 10%, and removing those who had had predisposing diseases or trauma, the observations for 369 pairs were available for analyses.
Results: Farmers with larger dairy and swine confinement operations (sows) had an increased risk of acquiring osteoarthritis of the hip. In a logistic regression multivariate model, those who milked more than 40 cows daily had an increase in risk (OR = 4.5, 95% CI 1.9-11.0) in relation to those who did not work in dairy production. Those who had worked more than 5 hr daily in animal barns over a long period of time also had an increase in risk (OR = 13.3, 95% CI 1.2-145.0) in relation to those who did not work with animals. In another model, those who had large farm areas (>100 ha) had a significantly decreased risk (OR = 0.14, 95% CI 0.05-0.43) in relation to those who had smaller farm areas.
Conclusions: Farmers operating farms with large plant production area and few animal contacts had a significantly lower risk of incurring osteoarthritis of the hip than did farmers in general. The presence of animal production showed a significant positive relationship to the risk of developing hip joint osteoarthritis. Am. J. Ind. Med. 45:202-209, 2004.
Copyright 2004 Wiley-Liss, Inc.