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AAOS Now

Published 1/1/2008
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Toby King

How great is the burden of musculoskeletal disease?

Updated text presents compelling story

All too often, little attention is given to the impact of musculoskeletal disorders and diseases, particularly in the areas of research and funding. National health data show that musculoskeletal conditions rank among the top health concerns for citizens in the United States. Yet research funding for musculoskeletal conditions is under 2 percent of the National Institutes of Health budget.

The just-released Burden of Musculoskeletal Diseases in the United States presents a cogent argument and conveys an urgent call for increased funding, advocacy, and educational support. This updated text provides key policymakers with the information they need to respond to the growing societal and economic impact of musculoskeletal diseases.

Using an objective, scientific research design, Burden of Musculoskeletal Diseases in the United States measures the incidence and prevalence of musculoskeletal conditions and projects trends into the future. Chapters are devoted to key areas of concern, including spinal deformity and related conditions, low back and neck pain, arthritis and joint pain, osteoporosis and bone health, musculoskeletal injuries, congenital and developmental conditions, and neoplasms of bone and connective tissue.

Of particular interest to policymakers and funders are chapters that provide an overview of the burden of musculoskeletal diseases and conditions, review the healthcare utilization and economic costs of treating musculoskeletal conditions, and examine the disparities in the incidence and treatment of musculoskeletal conditions.

Burden of Musculoskeletal Diseases in the United States: Prevalence, Societal, and Economic Cost can be read online at www.boneandjointburden.org free of charge. The print edition is scheduled for publication in February 2008.

Toby King is executive director for the U.S. Bone and Joint Decade. He can be reached at tobyking@usbjd.org.

Did you know?

  • In 2005, musculoskeletal conditions were reported by 107.67 million adults in the United States, representing nearly one in two persons age 18 and older.
  • The cost of musculoskeletal conditions (direct and indirect) is approximately $849 billion annually in the United States alone.
  • Musculoskeletal disorders and diseases are the leading cause of physical disability in this country and result in more visits to physicians’ offices than any other condition.

Participating organizations

Burden of Musculoskeletal Diseases in the United States is a joint venture of the following organizations:

  • American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
  • American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
  • American College of Rheumatology
  • American Society for Bone and Mineral Research
  • Arthritis Foundation
  • National University of Health Sciences
  • Orthopaedic Research Society
  • Scoliosis Research Society
  • United States Bone and Joint Decade