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Musculoskeletal Diseases

Musculoskeletal diseases are the leading cause worldwide of chronic pain, limited physical ability and reduced quality of life.

Illnesses, disorders and injuries of the musculoskeletal system are some of the most common medical problems in Germany and cause high economic costs (for example, expenditure for disease-specific treatments, inability to work or early retirement).

Most musculoskeletal diseases become more common with increasing age. In light of the demographic development, WHO estimates predict that the number of people affected by bone and joint illnesses will double in the coming 20 years. 

Activities at Robert Koch Institue

In the framework of the health monitoring programme, the Robert Koch Institute continuously collects data on the most common musculoskeletal diseases occurring throughout a lifetime: arthrosis, rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis. Based on information provided by participants on the three diseases, prevalence and correlations with other factors such as sex, age and social status are determined.

The analysis of the information provided by applicants on the occurrence of back pain (dorsopathies) represents an additional focus.

Research Projects and Cooperation


Prevalence and determinants of osteoporosis in patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes mellitus

Leidig-Bruckner G, Grobholz S, Bruckner T, Scheidt-Nave C, Nawroth P, Schneider JG (2014) BMC Endocrine Disorders 2014,14:33 doi: 10.1186/1472-6823-14-33

Pain perceived in a national community sample of German children and adolescents

Du Y, Knopf H, Zhuang W, Ellert U (2011) Eur J Pain 15 (6): 649–657

Back pain, a communicable disease?

Raspe H, Hueppe A, Neuhauser H (2007) Int. J. Epidemiol. 37(1): 69-74 doi: 10.1093/ije/dym220

Primary care doctors’ awareness of osteoporosis and knowledge about guidelines – results of a representative survey of German family physicians

Chenot R, Scheidt-Nave C, Gabler S, Kochen MM, Himmel W (2007) Exp Clin Endocrinol Diabetes 115: 584 – 589

Whom to treat? The contribution of vertebral X-rays to risk-based algorithms for fracture prediction. Results from the European Prospective Osteoporosis Study.

Kaptoge S, Armbrecht G, Felsenberg D, Lunt M, Weber K, Boonen S, Jajic I, Stepan JJ, Banzer D, Reisinger W, Janott J, Kragl G, Scheidt-Nave C et al. (2006) Department of Medicine & Institute of Public Health, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK. Osteoporos Int. 17(9): 1369-81. Epub 2006 Jul 5.

Low BMD is less predictive than reported falls for future limb fractures in women across Europe: results from the European Prospective Osteoporosis Study.

Kaptoge S, Benevolenskaya LI, Bhalla AK, Cannata JB, Boonen S, Falch JA, Felsenberg D, Finn JD, Nuti R, Hoszowski K, Lorenc R, Miazgowski T, Jajic I, Lyritis G, Masaryk P, Naves-Diaz M, Poor G, Reid DM, Scheidt-Nave C et al. (2005) Bone 36(3):387-398. Strangeways Research Laboratory, University of Cambridge, Wort's Causeway, Cambridge

A secular trend in hip fracture incidence in East Germany.

Wildner M, Casper W, Bergmann KE. (1999) Osteoporos Int. 9(2):144-50. IBE Institute for Medical Informatics, Biometry, Epidemiology of the Ludwig Maximilians University Munich, Germany