J Korean Med Assoc.  2012 Nov;55(11):1054-1062.

Work-related musculoskeletal disorders in Korean farmers

  • 1Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Chosun University School of Medicine, Gwangju, Korea. cglee@chosun.ac.kr


This paper evaluates the current state of work-related musculoskeletal disorders of Korean farmers. Korean farmers are exposed to a multitude of ergonomic risk factors, and have high rates of musculoskeletal disorders such as backpain and knee osteoarthritis, while hip osteoarthritis is relatively low. As of 2010, the average age of Korean farmers is 62.3, and the average period of their work in agriculture is 33.3 years. Therefore, it is difficult to distinguish the influence of natural aging and farm work on the development of musculoskeletal disorders. It is necessary to conduct research on a correlation between specific diagnosis such as rotator cuff syndrome, and farm work in general because farmers complain of a great deal of pain.


Korean farmer; Work-related musculoskeletal diseases; Knee osteoarthritis; Back pain

MeSH Terms

Back Pain
Osteoarthritis, Hip
Osteoarthritis, Knee
Risk Factors
Rotator Cuff


  • Figure 1 Musculoskeletal symptoms by body part and farming type. UE, upper extremity; LE, lower extremity.

  • Figure 2 Farming type Korea (From 2010 Census of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries [Internet]. Daejeon: Statistics Korea; 2011) [7].

  • Figure 3 A case of lumbar degenerative kyphosis and both knee osteoarthritis. (A) Front view, (B) lateral view, (C) L-spine lateral view (From Song HS, et al. Korean J Occup Environ Med 2010;22:279-289, according to the Creative Commons license) [8].

  • Figure 4 Risk factors of knee osteoarthritis and backpain - squatting and stooped posture (From Song HS, et al. Korean J Occup Environ Med 2010;22:279-289, according to the Creative Commons license) [8].

  • Figure 5 Risk factors of neck, shoulder, and wrist in fruit farming.


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