As a physical therapist that specializes in total care and value-based networks, you will find many patients that suffer from arthritis. In fact, a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently completed a report that concludes that arthritis more prevalent in America.


Based on the evidence gathered for this report, at least 1 out of every 3 rural-based residents in the nation has some degree of complication as a result of arthritis. Approximately half of all sufferers identified experience some degree of limitations – in terms of activities. In this guide, we will evaluate the findings of this study.

The Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System

The study conducted and analyzed was the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System from 2015. A total of 426,361 individuals were evaluated. None of the adults were institutionalized. All were from the United States as well as the District of Columbia.

Each were asked if a healthcare professional informed them that they suffered from arthritis, gout, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, or fibromyalgia. If the respondents provided “yes” as an answer, they were then asked if they were limited in the activities that they perform in life. The following outlines the statistics derived from the study:

  • 22.7% confirmed arthritis and approximately 43% of those individuals confirmed activity limitations due to arthritis. This is often referred to as “AAAL” or “Arthritis-Attributable Activity Limitation”.
  • When evaluating urban residents, it was discovered that only 20.5% suffered from arthritis; whereas, nearly 32% of all rural residents suffered from the condition. The percentage of activity limitations was also higher in rural residents, coming in at a whopping 55.3%.
  • The study authors determined that higher rates in rural areas stemmed from individuals being older, weighing more, and experiencing lower levels of socioeconomic status.

The Need for Interventions

According to those that evaluated participants in the study, urban areas offer higher levels of intervention. The need for interventions is exceptionally important in rural areas. Physical therapists, doctors, and other healthcare professionals should focus on working together in order to offer value-based networks that offer these intervention services.

Examples of such services include stressing the importance of regular exercise, education on self-management when it comes to the health, rehabilitation programs, and physical therapy. Not only do these intervention services aid in preventing the development of arthritis, but they also help in reducing the pain and discomfort caused by the condition.

Value-Based Networks

All healthcare providers – especially physical therapists – should strive to work together in value-based networks in order to provide patients with the knowledge, tools, and resources that they need to prevent or treat arthritic conditions. By joining value-based networks, treatment providers will have the ability to work together in order to customize treatment plans for their patients and reduce the need for surgeries and other potentially harmful and extremely costly treatments for arthritis.