Prevalence of epicondylitis and elbow pain in the meat-processing industry

Scand J Work Environ Health. 1991 Feb;17(1):38-45. doi: 10.5271/sjweh.1736.


To determine the etiologic role of strenuous manual tasks in relation to epicondylitis, three clinical cross-sectional examinations were performed on meatcutters (N = 102), sausage makers (N = 125), packers (N = 150), and workers in nonstrenuous tasks (N = 332). The workers in strenuous jobs reported elbow symptoms 1.6-1.8 times as often as those in nonstrenuous jobs. Female sausage makers also showed epicondylar tenderness more often than the women in nonstrenuous jobs. In all the cross-sectional examinations combined, seven cases (0.8%) of epicondylitis were detected in both the strenuous and nonstrenuous jobs. A control for the possible sources of bias (leaving the company, changing task, being on sick leave) did not suggest a marked loss of potential cases of epicondylitis. A major role of strenuous tasks in the etiology of epicondylitis was not shown. However, because the number of clinical cases was small, the power of the study was low.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Cumulative Trauma Disorders / epidemiology
  • Cumulative Trauma Disorders / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Finland / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Meat-Packing Industry*
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Pain / epidemiology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Tennis Elbow / epidemiology*
  • Tennis Elbow / physiopathology