The Bottom Line: Do Exoskeletons Reduce Musculoskeletal Disorders?
French researchers summarized 30 high-quality, peer-reviewed articles on the benefits and risks of using occupational exoskeletons to reduce MSDs in the workplace. Since 2018, 13 of those articles have been published. Director of Research Blake McGowan shares the findings in this month’s installment.
The findings are:
- Benefits – Occupational exoskeletons decrease local muscle demands around a specific joint.
- Unwanted consequences – Muscle demands around neighboring joints increase and they modify and strain body movements.
- Gaps – There are gaps in understanding how they impact movement coordination, muscle fatigue, and long-term muscle adaptations.
- Effectiveness – Evidence does not support the use of occupational exoskeletons to prevent MSDs in the workplace at this time.
References: Jean Theurel & Kevin Desbrosses (2019) Occupational Exoskeletons: Overview of Their Benefits and Limitations in Preventing Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders, IISE Transactions on Occupational Ergonomics and Human Factors, DOI: 10.1080/24725838.2019.1638331