Return-to-Work Barriers Among Manual Workers After Hand Injuries: 1-Year Follow-up Cohort Study

Batia S. Marom*, Navah Z. Ratzon, Rafael S. Carel, Moshe Sharabi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To determine time of return to work (TRTW) in relation to multivariable predictors among male manual workers after hand injury (HI) over a 12-month follow-up. Design: A cohort study with baseline medical information, functional evaluation, and 3-, 6-, 9-, and 12-month follow-up telephone interviews. Setting: Seven physical rehabilitation community occupational therapy clinics. Participants: Participants (N=178) with acute HI aged 22-65. Two participants were lost to follow-up. Intervention: Not applicable. Main Outcome Measure: The dependent variable was TRTW. The independent variables originated from 4 domains: personal factors, environmental factors, body function and structure, and activity limitation and participation restriction. The proportion of return to work (RTW) at each time point was calculated. Multiple Cox regressions established a predictive model for TRTW. Results: At the end of the study, 75.3% participants returned to work. The median TRTW was 94 days. In the final model, only compensation factors and education contributed significantly to overall RTW, but when separate analyses were performed, decreased level of self-efficacy, higher workplace demands, level of pain, level of emotional response to trauma, reduced physical capability of the hand, and higher level of disability were significantly associated with delayed TRTW. Conclusions: TRTW was determined by the physical capability of the hand, pain, and psychosocial factors, but it was also affected by legal factors. Participants who did not return to work during the first 9 months are at risk for long-term disability. Developing treatment programs for those who are at risk for not returning to work, taking into consideration these factors, is recommended.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)422-432
Number of pages11
JournalArchives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2019


FundersFunder number
National Insurance Institute of Israel12379


    • Hand
    • Injuries
    • International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health
    • Rehabilitation
    • Return to work


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