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Prevalence and Pattern of Soft-Tissue Rheumatism in a Semi-Urban Nigerian Population

Soft tissue rheumatism (STR) involves a group of disorders affecting periarticular structures. They are associated with joint pains and deformity and contribute substantially to the burden of musculoskeletal diseases in the community. There are no studies from Sub-Saharan African communities highlighting the epidemiology of soft tissue rheumatism in the region.

This is a sub-group analysis of 811 subjects who reported positive musculoskeletal symptoms, as part of a cross-sectional total population survey using the Community Oriented Program for the Control of Rheumatic Diseases (COPCORD) methodology, in Nigeria. The objective was to describe the prevalence and pattern of soft tissue rheumatism in a semi urban Nigerian population.

The mean age (SD) of the study population was 36 (12.5) years with a male to female ratio of 1:1. The prevalence of STR in the community was 17.0%. Females, 20.0% were more affected than males 13.1%. The most common form of STR diagnosed was non-specific diffuse pain (28.3%) and a significant disability was recorded in 9.4% of subjects.

The prevalence of STR in this community was found to be high, with significant disability. Therefore there is need for increased awareness about STR among primary care providers, to increase their suspicion, diagnoses and treatment of these conditions.


Uhunmwangho U Courage* and Afolaranmi O Tolulope

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