OBJECTIVES: To describe the burden of bone and joint problems (BJP) in a defined regional population, and to identify characteristics and service-usage patterns. METHODS: In 2010, a health census of adults aged ≥15 years was conducted in Port Lincoln, South Australia. A follow-up computer-assisted telephone interview provided more specific information about those with BJP. RESULTS: Overall, 3350 people (42%) reported current BJP. General practitioners (GP) were the most commonly used provider (85%). People with BJP were also 85% more likely to visit chiropractors, twice as likely to visit physiotherapists and 34% more likely to visit Accident and Emergency or GP out of hours (compared with the rest of the population). Among the phenotypes, those with BJP with co-morbidities were more likely to visit GP, had a significantly higher mean pain score and higher levels of depression or anxiety compared with those with BJP only. Those with BJP only were more likely to visit physiotherapists. CONCLUSIONS: GP were significant providers for those with co-morbidities, the group who also reported higher levels of pain and mental distress. GP have a central role in effectively managing this phenotype within the BJP population including linking allied health professionals with general practice to manage BJP more efficiently.