Association between Epicondylitis and Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Pooled Occupational Cohorts

Kurt T. Hegmann, Matthew S. Thiese, Jay Kapellusch, Andrew Merryweather, Stephen BaoBarbara Silverstein, Eric M. Wood, Richard Kendall, James Foster, David L. Drury, and Arun Garg

Background

The pathophysiology of lateral epicondylitis (LE) is unclear. Recent evidence suggests some common musculoskeletal disorders may have a basis in cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors. Thus, we examined CVD risks as potential LE risks.

Methods

Workers (n = 1824) were enrolled in two large prospective studies and underwent structured interviews and physical examinations at baseline. Analysis of pooled baseline data assessed the relationships separately between a modified Framingham Heart Study CVD risk score and three prevalence outcomes of: 1) lateral elbow pain, 2) positive resisted wrist or middle finger extension, and 3) a combination of both symptoms and at least one resisted maneuver. Quantified job exposures, personal and psychosocial confounders were statistically controlled. Odds ratios (ORs) and 95% Confidence Intervals (CIs) were calculated.

Results

There was a strong relationship between CVD risk score and lateral elbow symptoms, resisted wrist or middle finger extension and LE after adjustment for confounders. The adjusted ORs for symptoms were as high as 3.81 (95% CI 2.11, 6.85), for positive examination with adjusted odds ratios as high as 2.85 (95% CI 1.59, 5.12) and for combined symptoms and physical examination 6.20 (95% CI 2.04, 18.82). Relationships trended higher with higher CVD risk scores.

Conclusions

These data suggest a potentially modifiable disease mechanism for LE.

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