Prevalence of orthopedic complaints in a rural population in West Virginia.

Marissa Chase Workman, Greg E Popovich


There are numerous medical conditions that impact rural populations. These conditions affect many body regions and systems to varying degrees. Some research suggests that West Virginians have especially high rates of certain orthopedic complaints.
   The purpose of this study is to describe the most common conditions/affected body areas of a selected rural population. Over the course of one month, eighty-one patients (72.8% female, 27.2% male) from an out-patient orthopedic physical therapy clinic with a rural clientele were evaluated for their reported condition. During each patient’s evaluation, his or her diagnosis and affected body area and other identifying characteristics such as age, gender, pain level, and duration of the condition were recorded as routine medical documentation. Data were then compiled while omitting the patient’s name to provide anonymity.
   For the total population, the following affected areas were reported: back/spine, shoulder, knee, neck, hip, ankle/foot, and general body pain. The collected data reveal spine conditions were the most common complaint for both men and women; 37% of total patients suffered from a condition that involved the spine or adjacent tissues, and 73.3% of those patients were female. Shoulder region conditions were the second most prevalent of total patients (23.5%) where 68.4% of those were female. Only 6.2% of the total patient population suffered from hip conditions, where 100% of those patients were female.
   The patients within this rural population presented several different condition areas, most commonly spine, with notable differences between genders.


Rural population; Physical therapy; Orthopedic complaints; Gender

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