Musculoskeletal Conditions of Children and Adolescents

 
VII.C.1
 

Lead Author(s): 

Scott B. Rosenfeld, MD
Brielle Payne Plost, MD

Supporting Author(s): 

Sylvia I. Watkins-Castillo, PhD

The 11 categories of musculoskeletal conditions that follow represent the most common healthcare reasons for which children and adolescents are seen in doctors' offices, emergency departments, and hospitals. Many of these conditions, such as the skeletal dysplasias, are relatively rare, diagnosed infrequently in the healthcare system, and have little data available on prevalence and burden. Though rare, they may result in significant morbidity and often require lifelong medical interventions and, therefore, warrant discussion.

Summary Any Diagnoses

In 2013, more than 18 million children and adolescents age 20 years and younger received treatment in medical centers, physicians’ office, and hospitals for a condition that included a musculoskeletal-related condition. More than 65% were for the treatment of traumatic injuries. The second most common diagnosis is a pain syndrome, accounting for more than 1 in 10 visits (15%). Pain syndromes include amplified musculoskeletal pain and benign limb pains, along with less common juvenile primary fibromyalgia syndrome, reflex sympathetic dystrophy, and benign hypermobility syndrome. The third most frequent diagnosis is sports injuries, accounting for just over 10% of all visits. The discussion of sports injuries utilizes a unique database that is not based on ICD-9-CM codes; it is likely there is overlap between traumatic injuries and sports injuries. (Reference Table 7C.1.1 PDF CSV)

More than two-thirds (70%) of visits by children and adolescents for a condition that included a musculoskeletal-related condition were to physicians’ offices or outpatient clinics. Hospital discharges accounted for less than 3% of total visits. Healthcare visits that included a musculoskeletal-related condition represented 7% of visits made by children and adolescents for any reason but were more than 15% of all visits to the emergency department. (Reference Table 7C.1.1 PDF CSV)

Summary Primary Diagnosis

Among the 246 million healthcare visits by children and adolescents in 2013, 14.4 million had a primary diagnosis of a musculoskeletal-related condition. The greater proportion (64%) were for the treatment of traumatic injuries, with the second and third most common primary diagnoses being sports injuries (13%) and pain syndrome (12%). Although all other musculoskeletal-related conditions accounted for 13% of total healthcare visits for a musculoskeletal-related condition, they nevertheless remain serious health concerns for children and adolescents. (Reference Table 7C.1.2 PDF CSV)

Again, many visits were to physicians’ offices and outpatient clinics (70%), while visits to an emergency department with a primary musculoskeletal-related condition diagnosis accounted for 29% of visits. Hospital discharges accounted for less than 1% of total visits with a primary musculoskeletal diagnosis. Healthcare visits that included a primary diagnosis of a musculoskeletal-related condition represented 6% of visits made by children and adolescents for any reason but were 13% of all visits to the emergency department. (Reference Table 7C.1.2 PDF CSV)

Edition: 

  • Fourth Edition

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