Knee problems common among UK plumbers, survey shows

Photo: Antonio_Diaz/iStockphoto

West Sussex, England — Nearly 3 out of 4 plumbers in the United Kingdom say they experience knee problems, yet only 41 percent report discussing the issue with a health care professional, according to the results of a recent survey.

Researchers from The IPG, an association for independent plumbing, heating and bathroom specialists, surveyed 184 plumbers in the U.K. Of those surveyed, 59 percent said they believe they will have to retire early because of work-related knee damage, and 57 percent reported they will need to undergo knee replacement surgery.

Plumbers with more than 30 years on the job reported the most severe knee problems; 68 percent said they have undergone some type of knee surgery.

U.K. plumbers work an average of 47 hours a week, spending about half that time on their knees, a press release from the IPG states. This regular impact on the knees can be detrimental: 77 percent of the plumbers surveyed said that despite wearing kneepads, they still experience problems.


“This is a serious issue that needs to be addressed,” Tony Dark, director of trade at The IPG, said in the release. “It is … essential that if any plumber or installer starts to have any trouble with their knees that they consult a [general practitioner] straight away in order to discover any possible problems early on to avoid more serious issues.”

Survey results were published online Nov. 15 on The IPG website.

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