Musculoskeletal complaints are extremely common and have important consequences for the individual and society. The most prevalent chronic musculoskeletal disease is osteoarthritis (OA). OA is a disease of the articular joint and can lead to severe disability. In Western adult populations it is one of the most frequent causes of pain and stiffness, loss of function and disability. With regard to the major joints, OA is most prevalent in the knee and hip joint. In the Netherlands, in 2007 about 312,000 persons had knee OA and 238,000 persons had hip OA. Based on demographic development it is expected that the absolute number of persons with OA will increase by about 52% between 2007 and 2040. If the expected increase of patients with obesity is also taken into account, the prevalence of OA will become even greater. The initial treatment of OA consists of pain medication, physical therapy, and lifestyle recommendations. These treatments aim to suppress the symptoms and to improve or maintain functioning. When conservative treatment fails to alleviate pain and dysfunction caused by knee or hip OA, total knee arthroplasty (TKA) and total hip arthroplasty (THA) are cost-effective surgical options that can provide significant pain relief and improvement in physical functioning. The number of TKA and THA procedures performed in the Netherlands has increased substantially in the last decades. Between 1996 and 2008 the annual number of TKAs placed in the Netherlands in patients with a primary diagnosis of OA increased from 4,046 to 11,881, an increase of almost 300%. During this same period, the number of THAs placed in the Netherlands increased from 16,803 to 17,401 procedures. Because of the aging of the Western population, together with the increasing number of people with overweight and the improvements in surgical techniques, these numbers are expected to increase even further.

Amgen B.V., Anna Fonds, Dutch Arthritis Foundation, J.E. Jurriaanse Stichting
J.A.N. Verhaar (Jan)
Erasmus University Rotterdam
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Dikmans-Vissers, M. (2012, May 10). Recovery after total hip or knee arthroplasty: physical and mental functioning. Retrieved from