Musculoskeletal Consequences of COVID-19

J Bone Joint Surg Am. 2020 Jul 15;102(14):1197-1204. doi: 10.2106/JBJS.20.00847.


Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is an emerging pandemic disease caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Although the majority of patients who become infected with SARS-CoV-2 are asymptomatic or have mild symptoms, some patients develop severe symptoms that can permanently detract from their quality of life. SARS-CoV-2 is closely related to SARS-CoV-1, which causes severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). Both viruses infect the respiratory system, and there are direct and indirect effects of this infection on multiple organ systems, including the musculoskeletal system. Epidemiological data from the SARS pandemic of 2002 to 2004 identified myalgias, muscle dysfunction, osteoporosis, and osteonecrosis as common sequelae in patients with moderate and severe forms of this disease. Early studies have indicated that there is also considerable musculoskeletal dysfunction in some patients with COVID-19, although long-term follow-up studies have not yet been conducted. The purpose of this article was to summarize the known musculoskeletal pathologies in patients with SARS or COVID-19 and to combine this with computational modeling and biochemical signaling studies to predict musculoskeletal cellular targets and long-term consequences of the SARS-CoV-2 infection.

MeSH terms

  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2
  • Betacoronavirus
  • Bone and Bones / physiopathology
  • COVID-19
  • Computer Simulation
  • Coronavirus Infections / complications*
  • Humans
  • Joints / physiopathology
  • Muscle Weakness / virology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiopathology
  • Musculoskeletal System / physiopathology*
  • Myalgia / virology
  • Pandemics
  • Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A / genetics
  • Pneumonia, Viral / complications*
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Serine Endopeptidases / genetics


  • Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A
  • ACE2 protein, human
  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2
  • Serine Endopeptidases
  • TMPRSS2 protein, human