Sector Groups


Orthopaedics is the medical specialty that focuses on injuries and diseases of the human body's musculoskeletal system. This complex system includes your bones, joints, ligaments, tendons, muscles, and nerves and allows you to move, work, and be active.

The MedTech industry develops products that reduce the burden of musculoskeletal diseases on individuals, families and the wider economy. These innovations improve quality of life and add enormous value to European society.

Image of concentrated disabled athlete woman

Orthopaedic disorders are the second largest source of disability globally, with low back pain being the single leading cause of disability[1]. Between 20% and 33% of people across the world live with a painful musculoskeletal condition[2].

Musculoskeletal conditions can affect people of all ages and most commonly impact those in adolescence and older age. These conditions affect the ability to lead active lives and have a negative effect on economic productivity. The burden of musculoskeletal disease is expected to rise as populations age.

Prompt diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal conditions can improve outcomes for patients. Orthopaedic care is also essential to the treatment of sports and spinal injuries, as well as fractures and breaks sustained through trauma.

MedTech has solutions to help get people back on their feet, living life to the full.

[1] World Health Organisation Musculoskeletal Conditions Fact Sheet
[2] Global, regional, and national incidence, prevalence, and years lived with disability for 328 diseases and injuries for 195 countries, 1990-2016: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2016. G. B. D. Disease and Injury Incidence and Prevalence Collaborators. 2017. Lancet, 390(10100), 1211-59.

Bones & joints

The unavoidable process of ageing leads to wear and tear on weight-bearing joints such as hips and knees. In other words, the joints in question are simply worn out.

These conditions place a considerable strain on sufferers, their carers, and on healthcare systems generally. They also keep large numbers of people from being fully active members of society. Given the demographic challenge of an ageing population, Europe will be particularly impacted by these conditions in the coming years.

The rising prevalence of osteoporosis is also a challenge. This is a disease in which bones becomes porous and brittle, losing much of their structural strength and leading to a high risk of hip, wrist and other fractures.

It is a progressive disease, with the elderly – especially women – and those with a family history of the disease being at higher risk. Again, Europe’s ageing population makes this disease a growing concern. Osteoporosis affects approximately one in ten women aged 60, one in five women aged 70, two in five women aged 80, and two thirds of women aged 90[3].

[3]International Osteoporosis Foundation. Facts and Statistics.

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Trauma and spinal injuries

Injuries sustained through trauma – such as road traffic accidents – can result in serious damage to the musculoskeletal system. Spinal cord injuries, shattered bones and dislocated joints require skilled intervention and rehabilitation to restore mobility.

Trauma injuries affect people of all ages and can have a profound impact on quality of life, limiting the ability to work, study and live and active life.[4].

[4]MedTech Europe data: based on reports from major manufacturers (2016)

Trauma and spinal injuries

Sport injuries

Regular physical activity is essential to good health. However, along with the benefits and pleasure of taking exercise comes the risk of sports-related injuries. From torn tendons and sprained wrists to fractured hips and broken ankles, the impact of sports injuries can range from a few weeks on the side-lines to long-term mobility issues.

Prompt and accurate diagnosis of injury followed by appropriate treatment and care can minimise the impact of sports injuries and accelerate recovery.[4].

[4]MedTech Europe data: based on reports from major manufacturers (2016)

Sport injuries

How the MedTech industry helps

Caring for musculoskeletal conditions begins with diagnosis. X-rays and CT scans can identify fractures, breaks and damage to ligaments and tendons, helping healthcare professionals to design a suitable treatment plan for their patient.

For some musculoskeletal conditions, joint replacement is the ultimate solution. Joint replacement is an area of major activity in medical technology, as manufacturers strive to improve techniques and technology to speed and improve recovery, increase device life and reduce overall care costs. In Europe, for every 1 million people, more than 1,000 hips and more than 1,000 knees are replaced each year.

Damaged hips, knees, hands, shoulders, feet, ankles and other bones and joints can now be replaced. These devices, implanted by skilled surgeons and supported by post-operative rehabilitation, can restore lost mobility.

Delaying joint replacement can come at a cost. Early access to joint replacement significantly improves patients’ quality of life without impacting on healthcare resources.


Surgical solutions

Trauma and sports injuries can require the implantation of metal plates to support the limbs. External braces can also be used to provide temporary support during the recovery period.

Spinal injuries are particularly complex and require innovative interventions to reduce pain and provide stability. Procedures such as kyphoplasty surgery, where a small balloon is used to elevate a fractured vertebrae before a cement-like material is inserted to stabilise the bone, have radically improved outcomes for people with serious back injuries.

Advances in medical technology and surgical expertise have considerably improved the prognosis for a range of sports injuries. For example, a ruptured cruciate ligament could be a career-ending injury in the late 20th century but many professional athletes can return to activity a year after surgery.

Surgical solutions

Value Project

We believe strongly in the value of orthopaedic intervention. To show our commitment as an industry we run innovative pilot projects across Europe. For example, we embrace value-based health Europe-wide by delivering digital educational content in Germany, engagingwith surgeons in the UK, and working with Italian stakeholders. All this to ensure orthopaedic interventions are available, affordable and accessible.