Stuart Weinstein, MDMusculoskeletal disorders and diseases are the leading cause of disability in the United States and account for more than one-half of all chronic conditions in people older than age 50 years in developed countries. The economic impact in the United States of these conditions is also staggering: in 2011, the estimated sum of the direct expenditures in healthcare costs and the indirect expenditures in lost wages is $874 billion, or 5.7% of the 2011 GDP (national gross domestic product).

Beyond these statistics, the human toll in terms of the diminished quality of life is immeasurable. This situation is unlikely to improve in the foreseeable future and will likely be intensified by current demographic trends, including the graying of the baby boomer population, the epidemic of morbid obesity, and the higher recreational activity levels of our elderly population.

Despite these compelling facts, the investment in musculoskeletal research in the United States lags behind other chronic conditions. While musculoskeletal diseases are common, disabling, and costly, they remain under-appreciated, under-recognized, and under-resourced by our national policy makers.

The mission of the U.S. Bone and Joint Initiative, publisher of this publication, is to advocate for and promote multidisciplinary, coordinated, and patient-centered care to improve the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of musculoskeletal conditions.

Edward Yelin, PhD, MCPThis volume serves the mission of the Initiative in that several professional organizations concerned with musculoskeletal health have collaborated to tabulate up-to-date data on the burden of musculoskeletal diseases to educate healthcare professionals, policy makers, and the public. In this third edition of The Burden of Musculoskeletal Diseases in the United States (BMUS), information presented has been updated to reflect the most current data available. This book represents a true collaboration of a coalition of professional organizations committed to the mission of the U.S. Bone and Joint Initiative.

The content in this edition has been expanded to include new chapters on specific populations: children and adolescents, aging, and the military. Where available, there is increased attention to sex/gender differences, and race/ethnicity. The website has been completely revamped with new features and functionality included to facilitate use of the data. Graphs can now be downloaded for use in presentations. Tables are linked directly from the text content, and can be downloaded as PDF files or as CSV/Excel files. All the graphs and tables under each topic can be viewed together, and downloaded if desired. Search functionality has been improved. A Report Builder tool has been added allowing users to produce tailored reports on the latest available data provided by some of the original data sources used to produce the edition.

These data should stimulate increased investment in basic, translational, clinical and health policy research to delineate the underlying mechanisms of these diseases and their response to treatment. Through such research, novel preventive and therapeutic approaches with potential to mitigate the societal and personal impact of musculoskeletal disease will emerge.

We thank the authors and reviewers of the chapters, Sylvia Watkins-Castillo who undertook and coordinated development of the content and is so dedicated to this publication, the BMUS Steering Committee members who have guided the publication, and to the organizations which have provided support to make this edition possible.

Stuart Weinstein, MD
Edward Yelin, PhD, MCP
Co-Chairs, Steering Committee, Burden of Musculoskeletal Diseases in the United States (BMUS)
United States Bone and Joint Initiative