Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis, affecting millions worldwide. It occurs when the protective cartilage that cushions the ends of bones wears down over time, leading to pain, swelling, and reduced joint mobility.

Causes and Risk Factors

While the exact cause of OA is unknown, several factors can increase the risk of developing it. These include aging, joint injury, repeated stress on the joint, obesity, genetics, and certain metabolic diseases. Unlike other types of arthritis, osteoarthritis affects only joint function and does not affect internal organs.


The main symptoms of osteoarthritis are joint pain and stiffness, particularly after periods of inactivity or excessive use. Affected joints may swell, feel tender, and lose flexibility. In severe cases, a loss of cartilage can lead to bone grinding directly on bone, causing significant pain and restricted movement.


Diagnosis typically involves a physical examination, patient history, and imaging tests like X-rays or MRI, which can show cartilage loss, bone damage, and the presence of bone spurs.


There is no cure for osteoarthritis, but several treatments can help manage symptoms. These include lifestyle modifications like exercise and weight loss, physical therapy, pain relief medications, and joint injections. In severe cases, joint replacement surgery might be considered.

Management and Prevention

Regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, and avoiding joint injuries can help prevent osteoarthritis or reduce its severity. Managing symptoms through a combination of therapies can significantly improve quality of life for those with OA.

Osteoarthritis represents a significant challenge in the field of joint health, requiring a multifaceted approach to treatment and management to maintain joint function and quality of life.