Estimating the costs of job related arthritis

J Paul Leigh, W. Seavey, B. Leistikow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


Objective. To present the first estimate of the costs of job related osteoarthritis (OA) in the USA. Methods. Data were drawn from national data sets collected by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the US National Center for Health Statistics, and existing cost estimates for arthritis in the literature. We used proportional attributable risk (PAR) models to estimate the percentage of acute and repetitive injuries resulting in OA. These PAR vary between men and women. We used the human capital method that decomposes costs into direct categories such as medical expense and indirect categories such as lost earnings. Results. We estimate job related OA costs US$3.41 to 13.23 billion per year (1994 dollars). Our point estimate is that job related OA contributes about 9% ($8.3 billion) to the total costs for all OA. About 51% of job related costs result from medical costs and 49% from lost productivity at work and at home. These costs are likely to underestimate the true burden since costs of pain and suffering as well as costs to family members and others who provide home care are ignored. Conclusion. The cost of job related arthritis is significant and has implications for both clinical and public policy. Depending on the PAR selected, job related arthritis is at least as costly as job related renal and neurological disease combined, and is on a par with the costs of job related chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and all asthma, whether job related or not.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1647-1654
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Rheumatology
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2001


  • Economics
  • Occupational safety and health
  • Osteoarthritis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rheumatology
  • Immunology


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