Healthcare Utilization and Economic Cost


Lead Author(s): 

Edward H. Yelin, PhD
Miriam Cisternas, MA

Supporting Author(s): 

Sylvia I. Watkins-Castillo, PhD

The annual average proportion of the US population with a musculoskeletal condition requiring medical care has increased by more than six percentage points over the past two decades and now constitutes more than 34% of the population. This is an overall rate of increase of 21%. The majority of growth in both the proportion of the population, and in the number of people with a musculoskeletal condition is in the 45 to 64-year age bracket, with persons age 65 years and older with musculoskeletal conditions also rising. (Reference Table 8.1.1 PDF CSV)

In 2012 to 2014, the annual estimated direct and indirect cost attributable to persons with a musculoskeletal disease is $322 billion. Taking into account all costs for persons with a musculoskeletal disease including other co-morbid conditions, the cost of treating these individuals and the cost to society in the form of decreased wages is estimated to be nearly $980 billion per year. Over the last 18 years, costs associated with musculoskeletal conditions have risen from 3.44% of the GDP to 5.76%.  (Reference Table 8.6.1 PDF CSV; Table 8.12 PDF CSV; and Table 8.14 PDF CSV)

Treatments that mitigate the long-term impacts of musculoskeletal conditions and return persons to full and active lives are needed.


  • Fourth Edition

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