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Prevalence and economic burden of osteoarthritis

Learn how widespread knee osteoarthritis is and its economic impact

Knee OA prevalence increases with age:

  • Prevalence peaks at around 50 years
  • Knee OA affects 4.8% of females and 2.8% of males1
  • Hip and knee OA are ranked as the 12th highest contributor to global disability.

Here’s some facts about the burden of OA in Australia specifically:

Infographic of osteoarthritis statistics. Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common chronic joint disease in Australia. 1 in 6 Australians with osteoarthritis report high or very high psychological distress, over 5 times higher compared to those without the condition. 2 in 3 people who have osteoarthritis are female. 1 in 4 people with osteoarthritis self-report fair or poor health, twice as many as people without the condition. One in eight Australians are affected by osteoarthritis. 38% rise in the rate of total knee replacements for osteoarthritis from 2005-06 to 2015-16. People with osteoarthritis are over 4 times more likely to report very severe pain (5.2%) compared to those without the condition (1.2%). Nearly 100,000 Australians had joint replacements to treat osteoarthritis at an estimated cost of more than  billion in 2016. Osteoarthritis cost the health system .75 billion in 2012. More than 1 in 2 Australians with osteoarthritis report moderate to very severe pain(Source: National Osteoarthritis Strategy 2018)2

Osteoarthritis imposes a significant financial burden on individuals, the healthcare system, and society as a whole. Here are some facts about the financial burden of OA according to Arthritis Australia in 2016:3

  • 4 million Australians were living with OA
  • Arthritis is the second most common cause of early retirement due to ill-health in Australia
  • 52,000 people aged 15-64 years were unable to work due to arthritis
  • Arthritis cost the health system (in 2015) $5.5 billion dollars, projected to increase to $7.6 billion in 2030
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Physiotherapy Exercise and Physical Activity for Knee Osteoarthritis (PEAK)

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