Osteoarthritis in general practice: data and perspectives

Document type
Corporate author(s)
Arthritis Research UK
Arthritis Research UK
Date of publication
19 July 2013
Health Services
Social welfare
Material type

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This report presents new data revealing the overall extent of osteoarthritis in the UK, as well as estimates of the future extent.

Key facts include: osteoarthritis is the most common musculoskeletal condition in older people; around a third of people aged 45 years and over in the UK (a total of 8.75 million people) have sought treatment for osteoarthritis; and osteoarthritis affects the joints, causing them to become painful and limiting their movement. The overall impact of osteoarthritis on the person with the condition varies depending on the joints involved, the level of pain, and extent of loss of function. In severe cases, osteoarthritis is a substantial barrier to people’s mobility and independence, and significantly compromises their wellbeing and quality of life.

Obesity is a strong risk factor for knee osteoarthritis, with very obese people being 14 times more likely to develop the condition than those with a healthy body weight. National data indicates that the level of obesity is rising, and predicts that over half of the adult population in England could be obese by 2050. This trend is expected to cause a substantial increase in the number of people with knee osteoarthritis in the future.