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About Arthritis and Other MSK Conditions

Arthritis and related musculoskeletal conditions affect one in 5 people in the UK, causing pain and disability.

They can strike at any age, from infancy onwards. They cost society billions each year in health and social costs, lost employment, benefits; and they cost many individuals their independence and quality of life. There are many myths about these conditions, but the most damaging of all is the myth that nothing can be done.

Something can always be done, be it providing details of a local support group, or designing a service which means that people see the right specialist at the right time.

UK MSK statistics

  • 15 million people in England have an LTC (Long Term Condition)
  • 10 million people living with MSK conditions including arthritis in the UK

Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are the most common types but our researchers study over 200 different arthritic conditions, including disorders of joints, bones and muscles like back pain and autoimmune diseases such as lupus

  • Arthritis affects approximately 10 million people in the UK
  • 20% of the general population consults a GP about a musculoskeletal problem each year
  • More than a 3rd of the population aged over 50 have musculoskeletal pain that interferes with their normal activities
  • Arthritis is more common in women than men
  • 1 in 10 people aged 15-24 seeking a GP consultation each year have a musculoskeletal problem
  • Treating musculoskeletal conditions costs the NHS over £5 Billion per year
  • Up to 7.6 million working days are lost every year due to musculoskeletal conditions
  • More than 2,500 children develop juvenile arthritis each year and over 15,000 are in pain due to arthritis

Arthritis Research UK, Annual Review 2011-12

Where can I find out more?

Arthritis Research UK
PO Box 177
S41 7TQ

Phone: 0300 790 0400


Arthritis Care
18 Stephenson Way

Phone: 020 7380 6500
Helpline: 0808 800 4050

Check out our short film Burden

Burden – A Childhood Arthritis Awareness Film

Burden – A Childhood Arthritis Awareness Film

A moving drama of a child’s experience of JIA (Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis)

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