Research summary

Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors Associated With Common Musculoskeletal Disorders

Jessica Ganga

People who are at a high risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD) are also at risk of developing musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) such as carpal tunnel syndrome, according to a recent study.

The researchers based their findings on data from a 9-year prospective cohort of 1224 people. Questionnaires, structured interviews, physical examinations, anthropometric measurements, nerve conduction studies, and individualized measurement of job physical factors were all included in the baseline data. Using a study method based on the Framingham Heart Study model, the researchers compared the development of MSDs to CVD risk.

The results showed that the adjusted risk ratio for one or more MSDs increased to 3.90 among people with 10-year CVD risk scores greater than 15%. Further, risks were higher among people with greater numbers of disorders and, among those with four or more disorders, relative risks exceeded 17 in CVD risk categories.

The researchers noted some limitations of their study. For example, the study’s design, while strong, was not a randomized study and it lacked measured lipids among most participants. Despite the limitations, the researchers cite the study as providing a strong indication of CVD risk predicting MSDs in people.

“Cardiovascular disease risk factors strongly predict the risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome, lateral epicondylopathy, medial epicondylopathy, and rotator cuff tendinopathy,” the researchers concluded.



Hegmann KT, Thiese MS, Wood EM, et al. Cardiovascular disease risk factors predict the development and numbers of common musculoskeletal disorders in a prospective cohort. J Occup Environ Med. Published online August 1, 2023. doi:10.1097/JOM.0000000000002895