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Osteoarthritis

Also called: Degenerative joint disease, OA, Osteoarthrosis

Summary

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. It causes pain, swelling, and reduced motion in your joints. It can occur in any joint, but usually it affects your hands, knees, hips or spine.

Osteoarthritis breaks down the cartilage in your joints. Cartilage is the slippery tissue that covers the ends of bones in a joint. Healthy cartilage absorbs the shock of movement. When you lose cartilage, your bones rub together. Over time, this rubbing can permanently damage the joint.

Risk factors for osteoarthritis include

  • Being overweight
  • Getting older
  • Injuring a joint

No single test can diagnose osteoarthritis. Most doctors use several methods, including medical history, a physical exam, x-rays, or lab tests.

Treatments include exercise, medicines, and sometimes surgery.

NIH: National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases

Start Here

  • (American Academy of Family Physicians) Also in
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases)

Diagnosis and Tests

  • Video (American College of Radiology, Radiological Society of North America) Also in
  • Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate (ESR) From the National Institutes of Health (National Library of Medicine) Also in Spanish
  • (American College of Radiology, Radiological Society of North America) Also in
  • (American Association for Clinical Chemistry)

Treatments and Therapies

Living With

  • (American Occupational Therapy Association) - PDF
  • (Arthritis Foundation)

Related Issues

  • (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research) Also in
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases)

Specifics

  • (American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons)
  • (American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons)
  • (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research) Also in
  • (American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons) Also in
  • (American Society for Surgery of the Hand) Also in
  • (American Society for Surgery of the Hand) Also in

Genetics

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Library of Medicine)

Videos and Tutorials

Statistics and Research

  • (Arthritis Foundation) - PDF
  • (National Center for Health Statistics)
  • (National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases)

Striking laughter

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institutes of Health)

Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)

Reference Desk

  • (Arthritis Foundation) - PDF

Find an Expert

  • (Arthritis Foundation)
  • (American College of Rheumatology)
  • From the National Institutes of Health Also in

Patient Handouts