Epidemiological data on musculoskeletal conditions such as degenerative joint diseases and bone fractures are lacking in low and middle‐income countries. Fifty‐one clusters of 80 people (all ages) were selected using probability proportionate to size sampling. Households within clusters were selected by compact segment sampling. Six screening questions were asked to identify participants likely to have a musculoskeletal impairment (MSI). Participants screening positive to any screening question underwent a standardised examination by a physiotherapist to assess presence, cause, diagnosis and severity of impairment.
In total, 3,567 of 4,080 individuals enumerated for the survey were screened (87%). The all‐age prevalence of MSI was 11.6% (95% CI: 10.1–13.3). Prevalence increased with age, from 2.9% in children to 41.2% in adults 50 years and above. The majority of MSI cases (70.4%) were classified as mild, 27.2% as moderate and 2.4% as severe. Acquired non‐trauma comprised 67% of the diagnoses. The remainder included trauma (14%), neurological (11%), infection (5%) and congenital (3%). The most common individual diagnosis was degenerative joint disease (43%). Over one‐third (38%) of individuals with MSI had never received medical care or rehabilitation for their condition. This survey contributes to the epidemiological data on MSI in low and middle‐income countries. Nearly half of adults aged over 50 years had an MSI. There is a need to address the treatment and rehabilitative service gap for people with MSI in Cameroon.