Prevalence, Ergonomics, Sociodemographic Correlates with Musculoskeletal Injuries among Sonographers in Riyadh, KSA


  • Lina Fahmi Hammad1
  • *Uzma Zaidi2
  • Salwa Saad Awad3
  • Safaa Mostafa Ali Elkholi3
  • Hind Diouri Qasem2 and Farah Zaidi 4 .


Radiologic Technology


-Radiologic Sciences Dept., College of Applied Medical Sciences, King Saud University, Saudi Arabia
2 Department of Health Sciences, College of Health and Rehabilitation, Princess Nourah bint Abdulra
3 Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, College of Health and Rehabilitation, Princess Nourah bint


Worldwide increase in the incidence of work related musculoskeletal injuries/disorder among sonographers  were found (Baker and Coffin, 2013 ).  76% injures accrued in shoulders and the rest of the injures occrued in neck, waist, back and hands.

Multi reasons for these injuries includes Sonographers’ work postures, work schedules, task rotation, administrative support, ergonomic and workplace equipment

 Demographic characteristic such as age, gender and lack of exercise can be some of the risk factor for the Sonographers (Harrison and Harris, 2015), in addition females show higher risk to have musculoskeletal injuries (Village and Trask, 2007). .

The main objective of the study was to investigate the relationship of ergonomics and sociodemographic correlates with musculoskeletal injuries (MSI) among Sonographers

Summary of Results
  • A.lmost half of the respondents were currently unmarried 76 (50%); 74 were married (48%), and 3 were widows or divorced (3%). Most of the respondents perceived their socioeconomic status as middle class (n=95, 62%), 33 respondents (22%) reported as upper middle, 12 as lower middle socioeconomic class (8%), 10 (7%) as upper and 3 (2%) as lower socioeconomic class. As far as work experience is concerned, 78 (51%) sonographers reported 1-5 years, 39 (25%) respondents were working from 6-10 years, 24 (16%) correspond to 11-15 years, 11 (7%) stated 16-20 years and only 1 sonographer was having work experience of 25 year..
  • Significant difference had been found between two groups of work experience people (t=2.025, df=151) on MSI occurrences. Mean score is higher for occurrence of MSI during past two years among those sonographers who have work experience more than 10 years.

•38% of sonographers suffered from MSI compared to 63.0–96.4%  worldwide studies (Feng et al.,2016; Claes et al., 2015).

• Highest prevalence of MSI were found in the shoulder followed by lower back then wrists and hands. Similar findings were found by  Zakerian et al., (2015) &Feng and colleagues (2016). The above findingds are reported to be due to bending or twisting, maintaining a position for a prolonged period while scanning and having high workload and reduced work intervals

•MSI is caused, or aggravated, by long sustained or short intensive periods of repetitive movements like twisting and bending). Usually, heavy workload means a longer period of maintaining awkward neck /shoulders and wrist/hand postures, repetition, and high-pressure force.

•So frequent rest intervals can enhance the efficiency of performance and prevent occurrence of MSI. Dynamic warming-up exercise before applying scanning procedure for sonographers is recommended.

Suitable ergonomics guidelines include providing adjustable chairs and tables, proper positioning of patient and monitor and sufficient room to produce a report.

Summary of Work

The survey form was having various section. Initial section consisted of sociodemographic Information to determine the age, gender, qualification, work experience, marital status, family structure, and perception of socioeconomic status. Health related data, fitness and sleeping habits was arranged in next section. Third section contained question related with MSI. Fourth part was having Information related with treatment option. Survey was conducted by visits to hospitals as well as by using electronic survey via email. Total 250 survey forms were distributed and 170 filled forms were received to research team. Out of 170 survey forms 17 were discarded due to incomplete information. Thus, results were based on 153 sonographers of Riyadh from 14 hospitals. age range of 21-53 years (31.45±7.26). Minimum work experience was six (6) month were used as a criteria

Take-home Messages

Majority of the sonographers (90 (59%) whom reported that they perceive their health as good, 38 (25%) as very good, 13 (9%) as fair and 12 (8%) as excellent. None of the sonographer responded to poor health status. While comparing health status to other persons, of same gender and age, 88 (58%) rated their health as above average, 23 (15%) as much above, 22 (14%) as below average, 18 (12%) as average and only 2 (1%) sonographers reported as much below. In the response of comparison of current health status to five years ago, most of the respondents (81 (53%) reported as same, 35 (23%) reported as better, 31 (20 %) as worse, 5 (3%) as much better and 1 as much worse. Majority of sonographers responded that they carry out physical activity every day (79 (52%), 29 (19%) reported the frequency as 3-4 times a week, 21 (14%) for once a week, 10 (7%) for 1-3times a month and 14 (9%) reported the frequency of carrying out physical activity less or never. While responding on average sleep 16 (11%) had 4-5 hours, 42 (28%) reported 5-6 hours, 50 (33%) responded on 6-7 hours, 34 (22%) on 7-8 hours and 11 (7%) were having more than 8 hours of average sleep. Moreover, 25 (16%) stated that they were having health issues and seeking medical consulting. As far as musculoskeletal injuries and health problems are concerned, out of 153 sonographers, 95 (62%) did not suffer from MSI, whereas 58 (38%) sonographers suffered from MSI. Out of 58 sonographers whom suffered from MSI, 38 (25%) respondents experienced one time and 20 (13%) stated more than one-time occurrence of MSI during work.



•Baker GP and Coffin GT (2013). The importance of an ergonomic workstation to practicing sonographers. Journal of Ultrasound in Medicine. [online] 32(8)

•Claes F, Berger J and Stassijns G (2015). Arm and Neck Pain in Ultra sonographers. Human Factors: The Journal of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society 57(2) 238-245.

•Feng Q, Liu S, Yang L, Xie M and Zhang Q (2016). The Prevalence of and Risk Factors Associated with Musculoskeletal Disorders among Sonographers in Central China: A Cross-Sectional StudyHarrison G and Harris A (2015). Work-related musculoskeletal disorders in ultrasound: Can you reduce risk? Ultrasound 23(4) 224–230.

•Village J. and Trask C (2007). Ergonomic analysis of postural and muscular loads to diagnostic Sonographers. International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics 37, 781-789.

•Zakerian SA, Abbaszadeh M, Janani L, Kazemi Z and Safarain MH (2015). The prevalence of musculoskeletal disorders among ultrasound specialists and identifying their work-related risk factors, Journal of Health in the Field  

Summary of Results
Summary of Work
Take-home Messages
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