Tag Archives: osteoarthritis

The cost of Musculoskeletal conditions

Healthcare costs associated with musculoskeletal conditions, such as arthritis and osteoporosis, are much higher than those associated with other conditions, a new study suggests.

Musculoskeletal is a term used to describe any condition that affects the muscles, bones and joints. There are over 150 known musculoskeletal conditions, the most common of which include lower back pain, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis.

Currently in Europe, up to 80% of all healthcare costs are related to chronic conditions and musculoskeletal conditions make up a big proportion of these. Dutch researchers decided to look into this further.

They assessed almost 9,000 people to see what conditions they had and what impact these conditions had on their overall healthcare costs. The participants had a range of conditions, including musculoskeletal, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, skin conditions and mental health problems.

Their total healthcare costs were calculated for a specified three-month period, adjusting for inflation when required.

Rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis

Overall, one in five of the participants had a musculoskeletal condition and almost one in five had more than one condition.

The study found that healthcare costs were nearly 50% higher among people with musculoskeletal conditions compared to any other single occurring condition.

As expected, healthcare costs increased the more conditions a person had, however if one of these conditions was musculoskeletal in nature, this had a larger impact on total costs compared to other conditions.

For example, if a person had two non-musculoskeletal conditions, their healthcare costs were two times higher than a healthy person. However, if one of their conditions was musculoskeletal, healthcare costs were three times higher than a healthy person.

“It is clear that the cost of delivering care to those patients with musculoskeletal conditions is considerably higher than those with other diseases. In these economically challenging times, this research highlights a clear area of focus for policy makers where prioritisation of musculoskeletal disorders could result in longer-term cost efficiencies,” commented Dr Anjte Van Der Zee-Neuen of Maastricht University.

Details of these findings were presented at the European League Against Rheumatism Annual Congress in Paris, France.

Injection of stem cells may treat arthritis

Researchers have developed a new revolutionary procedure that could help prevent the disease ever striking in the first place.

The injection uses the technique that involves coating damaged cartilage with stem cells taken from a patient’s own hip and mixed with surgical glue, the Daily Express reported.

Gorav Datta, consultant orthopaedic surgeon of Southampton General Hospital said that the new procedure, known as ABICUS, should cost just a few hundred pounds and could be widely used across the country within two years.

The development of this technique and the study they were conducting could revolutionise the treatment of common cartilage injury by creating a like-for-like, identical cartilage replacement for the first time.



More than eight million Britons suffer from osteoarthritis, which occurs when cartilage, flexible tissue that covers the surface of joints and enables bones to slide over each other, wears away, leading to pain and stiffness.

During the 30-minute procedure, the sample was spun in a centrifuge in the operating theatre to give a concentrated amount of cells which were then mixed with a gel and acid to create a glue-like substance which was injected over the cartilage defect and allowed to set. The cartilage then regenerated.

The technique has been currently been tested on hips and knees, because they were the major weight-bearing joints and were the ones most commonly surgically replaced. But it has been believed that it could be used for other joints such as ankles and shoulders.