All orthopedic treatment administered between 1970 and 1982 was analyzed in random subsamples of men 28, 38, and 48 years old being screened for serum gamma-glutamyltransferase (GGT) levels. Of 1,151 screened participants, 631 men had been treated for fracture, distortion, contusion, low-back pain with or without sciatica, or radial epicondylitis. The extent of care and incidence of the different diagnoses over the 13 years, as well as the number of sick days incurred by these men during 1981, were investigated for different GGT brackets. Those men with the highest GGT values (greater than or equal to 1.34 mu kat/liter approximately 80 IU) had 4-6 times more fractures and consulted surgeons 6-13 times more often than those men with the lowest GGT values (less than 0.35 mu kat/liter approximately 20 IU). Epicondylitis and distortion showed the opposite frequency distribution, with the highest incidence occurring in the lowest GGT brackets. Increasing GGT values were also correlated with sick leave days. Men in the highest decile for sick leave had 25 times more fractures than those men with no sick absenteeism. We conclude that an accumulation of alcohol-related orthopedic disorders occurs among men with high GGT values.