Open Access Study protocol

Hand, hip and knee osteoarthritis in a Norwegian population-based study - The MUST protocol

Nina Østerås1*, May Arna Risberg2, Tore K Kvien3, Lars Engebretsen4, Lars Nordsletten4, Dag Bruusgaard5, Unni-Berit Schjervheim6, Ida K Haugen3, Hilde Berner Hammer3, Sella Provan3, Britt Elin Øiestad2, Anne Grete Semb3, Silvia Rollefstad3, Kåre Birger Hagen1, Till Uhlig13, Barbara Slatkowsky-Christensen3, Ingvild Kjeken1, Gunnar Flugsrud4, Margreth Grotle1, Sølve Sesseng7, Hanne Edvardsen7 and Bård Natvig5

Author Affiliations

1 National Resource, Center for rehabilitation in Rheumatology, Department of Rheumatology, Diakonhjemmet Hospital, Oslo, Norway

2 Norwegian Research Center for Active Rehabilitation Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Oslo University Hospital, Oslo, Norway

3 Department of Rheumatology, Diakonhjemmet Hospital, Oslo, Norway

4 Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Oslo University Hospital Ullevål, Oslo, Norway

5 Department of General Practice, Institute of Health and Society, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway

6 Primary Health Care, Ullensaker Municipality, Akershus, Norway

7 Department of Radiology, Diakonhjemmet Hospital, Oslo, Norway

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BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2013, 14:201  doi:10.1186/1471-2474-14-201

Published: 5 July 2013



Knowledge about the prevalence and consequences of osteoarthritis (OA) in the Norwegian population is limited. This study has been designed to gain a greater understanding of musculoskeletal pain in the general population with a focus on clinically and radiologically confirmed OA, as well as risk factors, consequences, and management of OA.


The Musculoskeletal pain in Ullensaker STudy (MUST) has been designed as an observational study comprising a population-based postal survey and a comprehensive clinical examination of a sub-sample with self-reported OA (MUST OA cohort). All inhabitants in Ullensaker municipality, Norway, aged 40 to 79 years receive the initial population-based postal survey questionnaire with questions about life style, general health, musculoskeletal pain, self-reported OA, comorbidities, health care utilisation, medication use, and functional ability. Participants who self-report OA in their hip, knee and/or hand joints are asked to attend a comprehensive clinical examination at Diakonhjemmet Hospital, Oslo, including a comprehensive medical examination, performance-based functional tests, different imaging modalities, cardiovascular assessment, blood and urine samples, and a number of patient-reported questionnaires including five OA disease specific instruments. Data will be merged with six national data registries. A subsample of those who receive the questionnaire has previously participated in postal surveys conducted in 1990, 1994, and 2004 with data on musculoskeletal pain and functional ability in addition to demographic characteristics and a number of health related factors. This subsample constitutes a population based cohort with 20 years follow-up.


This protocol describes the design of an observational population-based study that will involve the collection of data from a postal survey on musculoskeletal pain, and a comprehensive clinical examination on those with self-reported hand, hip and/or knee OA. These data, in addition to data from national registries, will provide unique insights into clinically and radiologically confirmed OA with respect to risk factors, consequences, and management.

Osteoarthritis; Hand; Hip; Knee; Observational study; Study protocol