Versus Arthritis Centre for Sport, Exercise and Osteoarthritis
University of Nottingham

Understanding the osteoarthritis burden: spatial microsimulation of osteoarthritis prevalence at the small area level in England


OA is the most common form of arthritis, a painful condition affecting the joints. It is thought to affect about a third of UK adults over the age of 45 years. The exact cause of OA is still unclear and there is no cure. In the UK, there is currently no regular nationwide collection of data on the prevalence of OA which could aid policy makers and health care professionals on appropriate targeted interventions to prevent the disease and/or slow down the progression of the disease.This project aims to, using a technique called spatial microsimulation modelling, estimate the prevalence of OA on a local “small area” level (ward or local authority). The project would also examine the geographical relationship between certain risk factors of OA and the prevalence of the disease.In addition, researchers would try to forecast the effect of certain interventions on the prevalence of OA on small geographical scales by using a “what if” modelling approach. This is done by taking data from a number of sources and then changing this data to create alternative (hypothetical) scenarios. For example, we might look at what would happen to OA pain symptoms if residents in a particularly inactive area became more active as a result of a community walking intervention. 

What the research hopes to acheive

The project aims to provide policy makers with estimates of the OA burden on smaller geographical scales which would aid the proper planning of public health interventions. It would also provide these policy makers and health care professionals with an insight into the effect of national-level policies or interventions before their costly implementation thereby allowing for strategic planning of targeted, and more effective interventions to reduce the burden of OA in England.  

Work Package  Epidemiology (WP1) 
Researchers  Dr Onosi Ifesemen and Mr Tom Bestwick-Stevenson (University of Nottingham)
 Lead Academic  Dr Kim Edwards (Univeristy of Nottingham)