Osteoarthritis, sometimes referred to as OA, is a common condition that affects our joints, causing pain, swelling, and stiffness.
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Osteoarthritis is a condition that affects our joints, causing pain, swelling, and/or stiffness. We have joints throughout our bodies. They are the places where bones meet so you can bend and move. Knees, hip, and hands are the joints most commonly affected by this type of arthritis.
It is sometimes called degenerative joint disease. This kind of arthritis wears away the cartilage that covers the ends of each bone in a knee or hip, so it is often described as a "wear and tear" disease.
If you have persistent pain, aching, or stiffness of your knees or hips when you move them that is not a result of a recent injury, then you should see your health care professional for an assessment. Osteoarthritis tends to get worse with time and can
make it challenging to perform day-to-day activities as we age.
To make a diagnosis, your health care provider will take a history asking about your symptoms and give you a physical exam. Generally, if you are 40 years or older, you won’t need an x-ray or other types of imaging to confirm a diagnosis.
Neuropsychiatrist, Professor; Faculty of Health Sciences, McMaster University
Professor, Department of Surgery, McMaster University
Assistant Clinical Professor, Rehabilitation Science, Faculty of Health Sciences, McMaster University
Advanced Practice Physiotherapist, Hamilton Health Sciences
Professor & Director, Division of Rheumatology, McMaster University
The latest scientific evidence on this topic was reviewed and assessed for accuracy by our team of experts in osteoarthritis and exercise. There are no conflicts of interest. This resource was first published on March 12, 2020.