What is osteoarthritis (OA)?

  • Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis, and is characterized by the breakdown of join cartilage- leading to pain, stiffness, and disability.  It is sometimes referred to as degenerative joint disease or “wear and tear” arthritis.  OA mostly occurs in the hands, hips, and knees. It is especially common among older people.  It may progress quickly, but for most people, joint damage develops gradually over years.
  • Risk factors for developing osteoarthritis include being overweight, getting older, joint injury or overuse, and genetic defects. 
  • Warning signs of OA include:
    • Joint stiffness after getting out of bed or sitting for a long period.
    • Swelling or tenderness in joint(s)
    • Crunching feeling or sound of bone rubbing bone
  • Diagnosis.  There is no single test to diagnose OA, multiple methods are used to diagnose and rule out other issues:
    • Medical history
    • Physical exam
    • X rays
    • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
    • Other tests (blood tests, exams of fluid in the joints)
  • Treatment of osteoarthritis depends on the needs of the patients, but should to do the following:
    • Improve joint function
    • Maintain a healthy body weight
    • Control pain
    • Develop a healthy lifestyle
knee joint xray


  •  "Osteoarthritis Fact Sheet." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 02 Feb. 2017. Web. 10 Apr. 2017.
  •  National Institutes of Health. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, n.d. Web. 10 Apr. 2017.
  •  "Osteoarthritis - National Library of Medicine - PubMed Health." National Center for Biotechnology Information. U.S. National Library of Medicine, n.d. Web. 10 Apr. 2017.
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