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The Musculoskeletal Calculator

We've launched the Musculoskeletal Calculator, the first tool of its kind in the UK to give estimates on the prevalence of musculoskeletal conditions.

Musculoskeletal disorders are the most common cause of pain and disability (see Key facts about arthritis (PDF 193 KB)), but we lack quality data about them. For example, we lack data about the number of people with conditions such as osteoarthritis, which is estimated to effect 8.75 million people in the UK (see Osteoarthritis in general practice (PDF 4.2 MB) for statistics).

This lack of data can cause politicians and healthcare decision makers to underestimate their burden, leading to poor intelligence to use in planning of services, non-inclusion in health promotion activity and de-prioritisation for investment and improvement. This also means that arthritis can be overlooked when health planners are considering long-term conditions.

The Musculoskeletal Calculator is a huge step towards filling this data gap and could be important for use in local planning of health and care services. This online tool provides health planners with accurate and up-to-date musculoskeletal health data estimates.

Its first phase includes the number of people in England with osteoarthritis of the hip and knee (both total and severe).

In future we hope to include estimates for:

  • disabling back pain
  • rheumatoid arthritis
  • fragility fracture risk.

We'll promote inclusion of these local data estimates in Joint Strategic Needs Assessments (JSNAs), a statutory requirement which analyses the health needs of populations to inform and guide commissioning of health, well-being, social care services and public health planning within local authority areas.

Back to Musculoskeletal health services policy

Musculoskeletal calculator


The first tool to give estimates of how common musculoskeletal conditions are across England.

Arthritis Research UK policy


We're working to ensure that government policy meets the needs of people with arthritis and other musculoskeletal conditions.


 Find out how.

For more information, go to
Arthritis Research UK fund research into the cause, treatment and cure of arthritis. You can support Arthritis Research UK by volunteering, donating or visiting our shops.