Osteoarthritis (OA) is a common disorder caused by a loss of cartilage that affects the joints. Cartilage is the covering over the ends of bones that serve to provide a smooth gliding surface. When this cartilage surface is lost or destroyed, the underlying bone becomes exposed. As the disease progresses, more cartilage is lost and eventually bone rubs against bone within the joint. The disease is generally progressive and often results in pain, deformity, and stiffness. These problems can have a major impact on your quality of life and activity level. Osteoarthritis affects over 27 million individuals in the United States alone.
What is the cause of osteoarthritis?
- The global rise in obesity correlates with a significant rise in the frequency of arthritis, particularly in the knee joint.
- Genetics clearly plays a role and has been correlated with osteoarthritis especially in the joints of the hand and wrist.
- Trauma and injury can result in damage to the cartilage, and poor alignment of the bones can contribute to the development of osteoarthritis.
- Instability of the joints related to poor ligaments or weakness can also lead to cartilage loss and ultimately osteoarthritis.
- Age has been associated with osteoarthritis. Although the frequency of OA increases with age, it does not occur in all individuals and should not be considered inevitable.
Are there other forms of arthritis?
How do I know if I have osteoarthritis?
Should I see a doctor?
Depending on your findings, appropriate follow-up tests and treatment maybe prescribed. Managing osteoarthritis of the hip and knee follows a progressive algorithm that starts with the least invasive management and ending with surgery in those with an indication for a specific procedure. It is important to understand that not all hip and knee pain is osteoarthritis, and there are other diagnoses and treatment options depending on the underlying cause of your pain.
Is there a cure for hip or knee arthritis?
This article has been written and peer reviewed by the AAHKS Patient and Public Relations Committee and the AAHKS Evidence Based Medicine Committee. Links to these pages or content used from the articles must be given proper citation to the American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons.