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Research Article  |   May 2009
Work-Related Musculoskeletal Injuries and Disorders Among Occupational and Physical Therapists
Author Affiliations
  • Amy R. Darragh, OTR, PhD, is Assistant Professor, Division of Occupational Therapy, School of Allied Medical Professions, The Ohio State University, Atwell Hall, 406G, 453 West 10th Avenue, Columbus, OH 43210–1262; Darragh.6@osu.edu
  • Wendy Huddleston, PT, PhD, OCS, is Assistant Professor, Department of Human Movement Sciences, University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee
  • Phyllis King, PhD, OT, FAOTA, is Associate Dean/Professor, College of Health Sciences, Department of Occupational Therapy, University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee
Article Information
Musculoskeletal Impairments / Professional Issues
Research Article   |   May 2009
Work-Related Musculoskeletal Injuries and Disorders Among Occupational and Physical Therapists
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, May/June 2009, Vol. 63, 351-362. doi:10.5014/ajot.63.3.351
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, May/June 2009, Vol. 63, 351-362. doi:10.5014/ajot.63.3.351
Abstract

Occupational therapists are at risk of work-related injuries (WRIs) because of the demanding nature of their work. However, information about WRIs and musculoskeletal disorders among occupational therapists is limited. For comparison, research indicates that up to 91% of physical therapists experience work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs) and pain. The purpose of this study was to gather new information about the prevalence, severity, and characteristics of work-related musculoskeletal symptoms and injuries among occupational therapists and to compare this information with physical therapists in the state of Wisconsin. Investigators mailed surveys to 3,297 randomly selected physical and occupational therapists living in Wisconsin. Results indicated a 2006 annual incidence rate of 16.5 injuries per 100 full-time workers among occupational therapists and 16.9 injuries per 100 full-time workers among physical therapists, a rate similar to workers employed in heavy manufacturing. Occupational therapists and physical therapists face similar and significant risks of injury and WMSDs.