World Arthritis Day


Bone and Joint Action Week is an annual event focused on issues including arthritis, back pain, pediatric conditions, osteoporosis and trauma. The week is designed to raise awareness worldwide about prevention, disease management and treatment of these disorders, and it’s a big undertaking. Consider that:

  • According to The Burden of Musculoskeletal Conditions in the United States, more than half the American population over the age of 18 – that’s 54% – are affected by musculoskeletal (bone and joint) conditions
  • Bone and joint conditions are the most common cause of severe long-term pain and physical disability worldwide, affecting hundreds of millions of people
  • Unless new treatments and preventive measures are found, the global prevalence of musculoskeletal conditions is predicted to increase greatly due to increasing life expectancy and changes in risk factors.
  • Musculoskeletal conditions can lead to significant disability plus diminished productivity and quality of life.
  • Treatment and lost wage costs associated with musculoskeletal diseases in the U.S. alone was estimated at $874 billion in 2009 to 2011


World Arthritis Day – October 12

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“Arthritis” is an informal way of referring to joint pain or joint disease. It is not a single disease. In fact, there are more than 100 different types of arthritis and related conditions, including inflammatory arthritis, rheumatism, Pagets, fibromyalgia and even gout. People of all ages, sexes and races can and do have arthritis, and it is the leading cause of disability in America. More than 50 million adults and 300,000 children have some type of arthritis. It is most common among women and occurs more frequently as people get older.

Common arthritis joint symptoms include swelling, pain, stiffness and decreased range of motion. Symptoms may come and go. They can be mild, moderate or severe. They may stay about the same for years, but may progress or get worse over time. Severe arthritis can result in chronic pain, inability to do daily activities and make it difficult to walk or climb stairs. Arthritis can cause permanent joint changes. These changes may be visible, such as knobby finger joints, but often the damage can only be seen on X-ray. Some types of arthritis also affect the heart, eyes, lungs, kidneys and skin, as well as the joints.

The United States Bone and Joint Initiative offers “Experts in Arthritis,” a public education program for people with arthritis and their loved ones. Patient advocates and health care professionals – including rheumatologists, physical therapists, orthopaedic surgeons, nurses and occupational therapists – present sessions covering current scientific evidence for the treatment and self-management of osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and juvenile arthritis, and answer questions related to current knowledge about arthritis care.

Content revised from the Arthritis Foundation ( and from the Bone and Joint Initiative USA (