Rheumatic disorders of the upper limbs associated with repetitive occupational tasks in Finland in 1975-1979

Scand J Rheumatol. 1984;13(2):101-7. doi: 10.3109/03009748409100371.


This study, which dealt with occupational rheumatic disorders associated with repetitive monotonous working movements, is based on the reports received by the National Board of Labour Protection during the 5-year period 1975-79. Altogether 3 090 cases were analysed. Of these, 2 139 (69.2%) were females and 951 (30.8%) males. The mean age of the patients was 40.7 years; the majority (82.2%) were 30-59 years old. The upper limb was involved in 93% and especially the forearm in 63% of cases. Tenosynovitis and peritendinitis of the hand was present in 58% and epicondylitis in 24%. Other disorders, such as shoulder disorders, neck and low back pain, and disorders of the lower extremities were much less frequent. The incidence of occupational musculoskeletal disorders was highest among female workers in the textile, leather and food industries. On comparing different occupations, butchers and meat cutters had the highest incidences. The patients were treated mostly at occupational health centres (66.2%) and local health centres (27.1%). The data on exposure time was rather meagre. This factor was estimated in only 77% of cases. In these the average exposure time was 2.4 years.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Arm*
  • Female
  • Finland
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Periarthritis / epidemiology
  • Rheumatic Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Sex Factors
  • Shoulder Joint
  • Tennis Elbow / epidemiology
  • Tenosynovitis / epidemiology