Featured reports

Arthritis snapshot 

Arthritis is an umbrella term for a range of inflammatory conditions affecting the bones, muscles and joints. These conditions include osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile arthritis and gout and often result in pain, stiffness and swelling and redness in affected joints. Arthritis is a common condition particularly among older Australians, and is a large contributor to illness, pain and disability.

Osteoarthritis snapshot 

Osteoarthritis is a chronic and progressive condition that mostly affects the hands, spine and joints such as hips, knees and ankles. It is the most common form of arthritis and the predominant condition leading to knee and hip replacement surgery in Australia.

Latest reports

Hip fracture incidence and hospitalisations in Australia 2015–16 

In 2015–16, there were an estimated 18,746 new hip fractures in Australia, a crude rate of 199 hip fractures per 100,000 population aged 45 and over. This represents a decline in the rate of hip fractures over time, suggesting that measures to reduce risk factors and prevent falls are having an effect.

Back problems snapshot 

Back problems are a range of conditions related to the bones, joints, connective tissue, muscles and nerves of the back. Back problems are a significant cause of disability and lost productivity.

Osteoporosis snapshot 

Osteoporosis is a condition that causes bones to become thin, weak and fragile, such that even a minor bump or accident can cause a broken bone (minimal trauma fracture). Osteopenia is a condition when bone mineral density is lower than normal but not low enough to be classified as osteoporosis.

Rheumatoid arthritis 

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease where the body’s immune system attacks its own tissues. Rheumatoid arthritis can affect anyone at any age, and may cause significant pain and disability.


Gout is a form of inflammatory arthritis that develops when an excess of uric acid in the blood leads to deposits of uric acid crystals in one or more joints, causing inflammation.

Juvenile arthritis 

Juvenile arthritis includes several different kinds of arthritis occurring in children, causing significant pain, disability and restrictions in school and other activities. Juvenile arthritis affects less than 1% of children and is more common in girls than boys.

The burden of musculoskeletal conditions in Australia: a detailed analysis of the Australian Burden of Disease Study 2011 

This report presents findings from the Australian Burden of Disease Study 2011 on the burden of musculoskeletal conditions in Australia. Musculoskeletal conditions were the fourth leading contributor to total burden of disease in Australia, with back pain and problems, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis being the greatest contributors to the musculoskeletal burden. The burden due to musculoskeletal conditions generally decreased over time, varied by condition severity and by population group, and some of the burden was attributed to modifiable risk factors such as overweight and obesity.

Impacts of chronic back problems 

Chronic back problems are common conditions in Australia (16% of the total population) and cause of disability (28% of the total population with disability) in Australia. Chronic back problems can have a strong negative effect on a person’s quality of life, affecting their ability to participate in daily activities, work, family and social activities. This bulletin provides the latest detailed information on the impacts (in terms of quality of life and disability) of chronic back problems in Australia.

Musculoskeletal conditions as underlying and associated causes of death 2013 

Musculoskeletal conditions are responsible for a substantial proportion of the non-fatal burden of disease in Australia. This bulletin describes the contribution of musculoskeletal conditions to mortality. Although musculoskeletal conditions were not among the leading underlying causes of death, this bulletin shows that these conditions were likely to have contributed to about 1 in 20 deaths in Australia in 2013.

Estimating the prevalence of osteoporosis in Australia 

This report presents information about the prevalence and impact of osteoporosis in Australians aged 50 and over. A broad range of data sources show that osteoporosis prevalence markedly increases with age and is more common in women than in men. Osteoporosis is one of several risk factors for minimal trauma fracture, with minimal trauma fracture of the hip being one of the most serious possible outcomes of osteoporosis. Although the rate of minimal trauma hip fracture for people aged 50 and over has decreased over the last ten years, the number of hip fractures continues to increase due to the increasing number of older adults in Australia.

Health-care expenditure on arthritis and other musculoskeletal conditions 2008–09 

Arthritis and other musculoskeletal conditions are substantial contributors to health-care expenditure in Australia. In 2008–09, estimated health-care expenditure allocated to these conditions totalled $5,690 million– the 4th most expensive disease group, accounting for 8.7% of total health-care expenditure allocated to disease groups. This report is the latest in a series on arthritis and other musculoskeletal conditions expenditure. The key objectives of this report are to describe the distribution of health-care expenditure by health-care sector for the major musculoskeletal conditions: osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, back problems and osteoporosis.

Data sources for monitoring arthritis and other musculoskeletal conditions 

This report assesses the potential for existing data sources to improve our understanding of arthritis and other musculoskeletal conditions and highlights future opportunities for improving data for monitoring these conditions. A 4-step process is used to assess the utility of different data sources to provide relevant information on the 6 priority information areas required for monitoring these conditions. This methodological approach may also be useful for monitoring a range of other health conditions.

Arthritis and other musculoskeletal conditions across the life stages 

Arthritis and other musculoskeletal conditions affect an estimated 6.1 million Australians (approximately 28% of the total population) across all ages. Due to their diverse nature, there is considerable variation in the prevalence, treatment and management, and quality of life of people with these conditions across various life stages. This report describes these impacts in the following age groups: childhood (0–15), young adulthood (16–34), middle years (35–64), older Australians (65–79) and Australians aged 80 or over.

A snapshot of rheumatoid arthritis 

Rheumatoid arthritis is the most severe form of arthritis, affecting around 2% of Australians. Even though management of the condition has improved markedly in recent years, largely because of the availability of new medicines, people with rheumatoid arthritis are more likely than those without the condition to report severe pain, poor health status and psychological distress. The size of indirect costs associated with rheumatoid arthritis, such as productivity losses and the cost for carers, are currently unknown.

Use of antiresorptive agents for osteoporosis management 

There is no cure for osteoporosis but antiresorptive drugs can reduce further bone loss and slow down disease progression. This report provide information on both the individual and community use of antiresorptive drugs for managing osteoporosis as well as trends in the supply of and expenditure for these medications.