Osteoarthritis is a disease of gradual failure of the joint. Major risk factors for this disease are ageing and obesity. As the population of the world ages and people become obese there will be a increase in the prevalence of this disease.

Some joints are affected by this disease and some are spared. More frequently involved joints include
  • knee joints
  • hip joints
  • knucke joint of the thumb
  • lumbar spine joints
  • cervical spine joints
  • distal and middle joints of the fingers

The wrist, ankle and elbow joints are rarely involved.


Symptoms of this disease depend on the joint involved. There will be knee pain if the knee is affected, hip pain if the hip is diseased and pain in the neck and the back when the spine is affected. Symptoms are dealt with in detail at the symptoms page.

What actually causes this disease and what are the variables that contribute to its development? The main factor that results in this disease is the loss of hayline cartilage present in the synovial joints. Many different factors contribute to this. They include

  • increasing age
  • obesity
  • genetic predisposition
  • defective joint mechanics
Each of the above factors are discussed in detail on the osteoarthritis cause page.

You would be surprised to know that cartilage is devoid of nerve fibres. This means that any injury or damage to cartilage will not cause any pain. Then how does pain occur in OA? Source of pain in this disease are the other parts of the joint that include

  • ligaments
  • synovial tissue
  • bone below the cartilage
  • muscles
  • capsule

How does damage to cartilage produce pain from the above mentioned tissues? This can be understood by knowing what is occurring at the molecular level. Effectively prevention and treatment strategies can also be developed. All about this can be seen at the pathology page.

Diagnosis of this disease requires the analysis of symptoms by the physician. Investigations if required include the following

  • X rays of the involved joint areas
  • Synovial fluid analysis
More on these at the diagnosis page.

Treatment of OA requires a comprehensive approach involving the physician, orthopaedic surgeon, dietician, physiotherapist and the patient. Many modalities of treatment are used that include

  • exercise
  • braces and supports
  • drug therapy
  • surgery

These are discussed in greater detail on the treatment page.

More about Osteoarthritis...

OA Cause

OA Symptoms

OA Diagnosis

OA Pathology

OA Treatment

Go back from Osteoarthritis to Home Page


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