Background: Lateral epicondylitis is a common work-related musculoskeletal disorder. The objective of this study was to identify risk factors associated with lateral epicondylitis among active workers.
Methods: Seven-hundred thirty-three workers in 12 Washington worksites participated in structured interviews, physical examinations, and individual exposure assessments of biomechanical and psychosocial factors. Multivariable logistic modeling was used.
Results: Thirty-eight subjects (5.2%) had lateral epicondylitis. Age (36-50 years-old), being female, and low social support at work were significant risk factors. Frequency of forceful exertion (> or =5 vs. < 1 times/min (OR 5.17, 95%CI 1.78-15.02), and > or =1 to <5 vs. <1 (OR 4.47, 95%CI 1.57-13.71)) and forearm supination at > or =45 degrees for > or =5% of the time with high lifting force (OR = 2.98, 95% CI 1.18-7.55) were significant physical load factors.
Conclusions: Frequency of forceful exertion or a combination of forearm supination and forceful lifting were significant physical factors and should be considered for prevention strategies.