Work-related musculoskeletal injuries and disorders among occupational and physical therapists

Am J Occup Ther. 2009 May-Jun;63(3):351-62. doi: 10.5014/ajot.63.3.351.


Occupational therapists are at risk of work-related injuries (WRIs) because of the demanding nature of their work. However, information about WRIs and musculoskeletal disorders among occupational therapists is limited. For comparison, research indicates that up to 91% of physical therapists experience work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs) and pain. The purpose of this study was to gather new information about the prevalence, severity, and characteristics of work-related musculoskeletal symptoms and injuries among occupational therapists and to compare this information with physical therapists in the state of Wisconsin. Investigators mailed surveys to 3,297 randomly selected physical and occupational therapists living in Wisconsin. Results indicated a 2006 annual incidence rate of 16.5 injuries per 100 full-time workers among occupational therapists and 16.9 injuries per 100 full-time workers among physical therapists, a rate similar to workers employed in heavy manufacturing. Occupational therapists and physical therapists face similar and significant risks of injury and WMSDs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Occupational / statistics & numerical data*
  • Adult
  • Career Choice
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Musculoskeletal System / injuries*
  • Occupational Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Occupational Therapy*
  • Odds Ratio
  • Physical Therapy Specialty*
  • Prevalence