Despite a substantial contribution to the global burden of disease, musculoskeletal conditions are under-represented in clinical research, and that which is performed is often wasteful and lacking clinical relevance. Even clinically relevant musculoskeletal research might not lead to timely or adequate changes in clinical practice and associated improvements in patient outcomes. The formulation of clinical recommendations alone is usually insufficient to bring about changes in practice patterns. Research exploring how to improve the translation of evidence-based recommendations into practice, as well as the identification and removal of barriers to practice change, is necessary in order for the promise of musculoskeletal research to be realized in improved health outcomes. These goals can be achieved by improvements in the coordination of research activities, the resourcing and allocation of funding, and the involvement of clinicians and patients.