Musculoskeletal Injuries Are Commonly Reported Among Gastroenterology Trainees: Results of a National Survey

  • Kerstin AustinEmail author
  • Haley Schoenberger
  • Mary Sesto
  • Eric Gaumnitz
  • Aimee Teo Broman
  • Sumona Saha
Original Article



Endoscopy-related musculoskeletal injuries are increasingly recognized among gastroenterologists. While injury rates and risk factors have been studied among practicing gastroenterologists, little is known about rates among trainees during fellowship.


This study analyzes the prevalence of endoscopy-related overuse injuries and risk factors for injuries among a national sample of gastroenterology (GI) fellows. We also surveyed GI fellowship program directors and fellows about perceptions of overuse injuries during GI training.


We distributed a 29-item electronic survey to GI fellows at accredited programs in the USA in April 2016. Survey items included demographic information, questions pertaining to injuries, and level of agreement on the importance of ergonomics training in GI fellowship. Additionally, we distributed a 7-item electronic survey to fellowship program directors evaluating perception of overuse injuries and prevention during fellowship training. Fisher’s exact test determined factors associated with sustaining an injury.


An estimated 1509 fellows received the survey. Eleven percent (n = 165) of gastroenterology fellows completed the survey. Twenty percent reported having a musculoskeletal injury. Female gender was the only factor associated with a higher rate of reported injury (p < 0.01). The most common injuries reported were thumb and other hand-related pain (n = 28 [64%]).


Musculoskeletal injuries may affect up to 20% of GI fellows. Female fellows more frequently report injuries and may be at particularly high risk which has not been found in previously reported surveys of practicing gastroenterologists. Standardized curricula on ergonomic considerations and injury prevention are needed to enhance GI fellowship training and reduce injury rates.


Musculoskeletal injuries Fellowship Endoscopy training Overuse 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Gastroenterology and HepatologyUniversity of Wisconsin–MadisonMadisonUSA
  2. 2.School of Medicine and Public HealthUniversity of Wisconsin–MadisonMadisonUSA
  3. 3.Department of Hematology and OncologyUniversity of Wisconsin–MadisonMadisonUSA
  4. 4.Department of Biostatistics and Medical InformaticsUniversity of Wisconsin–MadisonMadisonUSA

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