Interest has developed in biomarkers in body fluids, which are indicative of degradation of bone, cartilage and synovial tissue. These are currently being investigated in the clinical context in terms of diagnosis, prognosis and efficacy of treatment for rheumatoid and osteo-arthritis. There is also interest in the use of such biomarkers in sports medicine and now occupational medicine. The cause of occupational lower limb musculoskeletal disorders may involve complex multifactorial issues, such as psychological, and organisational factors as well as abnormal biological processes caused by over-use or abnormal loading of the knees, hips and ankles during various work activities. There is an interest in whether non-invasive biomarkers of bone, cartilage and synovium metabolism may add to other tools by objectively identifying the involvement and extent of specific abnormal biological processes in those who present with lower limb problems. Such biomarkers could be cost-effective tools in studying the efficacy of various intervention strategies in controlling the risk and incidence of occupationally related lower limb musculoskeletal disorders.
This report and the work it describes were funded by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Its contents, including any opinions and/or conclusions expressed, are those of the author alone and do not necessarily reflect HSE policy.
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