Occupational Strain as a Risk for Hip Osteoarthritis

Dtsch Arztebl Int. 2017 Sep 4;114(35-36):581-588. doi: 10.3238/arztebl.2017.0581.


Background: Multiple epidemiological studies have revealed an association between occupational physical strain and the risk of developing hip osteoarthritis.

Methods: To determine the association between the lifting and carrying of heavy loads or other physically demanding work and the risk of hip osteoarthritis (HOA) or total hip replacement (THR), we systematically searched the literature for primary studies on the effects of exposure to physical strain and meta-analytically reviewed the results that were amenable to comparisons across studies. We separately assessed studies that had hip pain as an endpoint.

Results: 5 cohort studies and 18 case-control studies were found suitable for inclusion. The lifting of heavy loads increases the risk of HOA or THR: exposure doubles the risk in men (relative risk [RR] 2.09, 95% confidence interval [1.4; 3.1]) and increases it by roughly 40% in women (RR 1.41 [1.0; 1.9]). Physically demanding work consisting of a combination of activities of various kinds (dealing with heavy loads, heavy manual work, or prolonged walking and standing) increases the risk by roughly 150% in men (RR 2.46 [1.3; 4.8]) and 40% in women (RR 1.38 [0.9; 2.2]). Hip pain was also reported more commonly in the exposed groups.

Conclusion: The studies are moderately to highly heterogeneous. An association exists between years of lifting heavy loads or other kinds of physical strain on the job and the risk of developing osteoarthritis of the hip. The greater the exposure, the greater the risk. The evidence base for risk assessment in women is currently inadequate.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Cohort Studies
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Occupational Diseases*
  • Occupational Exposure
  • Osteoarthritis, Hip / etiology*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Risk Factors
  • Weight-Bearing*