arthritisFloorlayers, bricklayers, farmers and healthcare assistants run the highest risks of developing osteoarthritis (OA), according to a new study published in the online journal, Occupational & Environmental Medicine.

While, occupational workload has long been associated with an increased risk of OA, there's been little research into gender differences. The study's authors, Susan Andersen, Lau Caspar Thygesen, Michael Davidsen, Karin Helweg-Larsen, set out to  determine if men and women in farming, construction or healthcare work have increased risk of developing OA of the hip or knee.

The research, which was based on the Danish working population in the period of 1981 to 2006, found that male floor layers and bricklayers and male and female healthcare assistants had the highest risks of knee OA, and farmers had the highest risk of hip OA. Male farmers had increased risk of hip OA after working just one - to - five years in the occupation.

Generally, the risk of OA increased with cumulative years in the occupation in both men and women.

The report concluded that a heavy physical workload present a strong risk for hip and knee OA in both men and women, and the risks increase with cumulative years in occupation and noticeable hip OA among male farmers.

The study  is available at Occupational & Environmental Medicine journal.