Occupational load as a risk factor for clinically relevant base of thumb osteoarthritis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Objective: It is postulated that increased load from pinch and grasp in occupational tasks increases the risk of thumb carpometacarpal (CMC1) osteoarthritis (OA). We sought to characterise the relationship between doctor-diagnosed CMC1 OA and occupation in a large working population. Methods: We performed a matched case-control study using a Swedish healthcare register. We identified residents aged 30-65 years in 2013 with physician-diagnosed CMC1 OA from 1998 to 2013. We matched four controls per person with CMC1 OA by age, sex, education and postcode. Swedish Standard Classification of Occupations was used to assign occupation. Occupation was categorised as light, light-moderate, moderate and heavy labour. We used conditional logistic regression to estimate ORs with 95% CIs. Results: We identified 3462 patients with CMC1 OA and matched 13 211 controls. The mean age of the CMC1 OA group was 63 (SD 7) years, with 81% women. The ORs for CMC1 OA in men were 1.31 (95% CI 0.96 to 1.79) for light-moderate, 1.76 (95% CI 1.29 to 2.40) for moderate and 2.00 (95% CI 1.59 to 2.51) for heavy compared with light work. Women had ORs for CMC1 OA of 1.46 (95% CI 1.32 to 1.61) for light-moderate, 1.27 (95% CI 1.10 to 1.46) for moderate and 1.31 (95% CI 1.07 to 1.59) for heavy compared with light work. Conclusions: The association between increased manual load in occupation and risk of CMC1 OA is more pronounced in men than in women, likely due to higher workload in the heavy labour category.


External organisations
  • University of Chicago
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Occupational Therapy


  • occupation, osteoarthritis, thumb carpometacarpal joint
Original languageEnglish
Article number106184
Pages (from-to)168-171
Number of pages4
JournalOccupational and environmental medicine
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Feb 13
Publication categoryResearch