Musculoskeletal pain (MSP) is a substantial societal and personal burden resulting in loss of employment and reduced productivity, and while O&P clinicians have reported a high prevalence of MSP, little is known about comparisons by country. Researchers in Australia set out to explore the prevalence and range of workplace exposures associated with MSP in the international O&P profession.
A cross-sectional study using a convenience sample was conducted with prosthetists and orthotists worldwide, who participated in a survey to explore work-related factors associated with MSP. Bivariate and regression modelling was used to examine associations between self-reported demographic and workplace characteristics including job satisfaction, work–life balance, and physical and psychosocial hazards.
Results of the survey showed 76 percent of respondents (n = 173) reported MSP in the previous six months. However, MSP was associated with different factors in Australia compared with other countries. Among Australia-based prosthetists and orthotists, MSP was associated with sex, physical hazards, and psychosocial hazards. For the international sample, MSP was only associated with length of employment.
The study concluded that three-quarters of all respondents reported having MSP. Differences in associations between MSP and other factors by respondents’ geographical location suggest the need for context-specific identification of hazards to enable the development of targeted and contextually appropriate prevention strategies, the study found.
The study, “Work-related musculoskeletal pain in prosthetists and orthotists, a comparison between Australia and other countries,” was published in the journal Prosthetics and Orthotics International.