In order to bring you the best possible user experience, this site uses Javascript. If you are seeing this message, it is likely that the Javascript option in your browser is disabled. For optimal viewing of this site, please ensure that Javascript is enabled for your browser.


Also called: Degenerative Arthritis, OA, Osteoarthrosis, Arthrosis, Degenerative Joint Disease, Hypertrophic Arthritis, DJD

- Summary
- About osteoarthritis
- Risk factors and causes
- Signs and symptoms
- Diagnosis methods
- Treatment options
- Prevention methods
- Questions for your doctor

Reviewed By:
Vikas Garg, M.D., MSA


Osteoarthritis (OA), also known as degenerative joint disease, is a gradual breakdown of cartilage in joints. This chronic condition can cause pain and impair movement, especially in the elderly population. Many people consider OA a natural part of aging. It occurs most often in the knees, hips, spine, hands and feet. It may be limited to one joint, but can affect several joints throughout the body.

Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis and is caused by joint cartilage deterioration.OA is the most common form of arthritis. It affects about 14 percent of American adults, according to the U.S. government. Most of these people are over age 55, and the condition affects more women than men. Some individuals may experience only aching knees. Others are disabled by the condition, unable to walk or climb stairs without help.

The cause of OA is unknown. However, certain risk factors such as age and excess weight appear to contribute to the development of the disease. OA may also be linked to injury, stress on the joints, muscle weakness and heredity.

Pain, stiffness and reduced joint movement are the most common symptoms of OA. It often begins in one joint and may progress to additional joints over time. Diagnosis typically begins with a physical examination and may include x-rays or other imaging tests of joints.

OA cannot be cured. Treatment focuses on relieving pain and slowing the progression of the disease. It may include medications, rest, physical therapy, exercise and occupational therapy. Lifestyle changes such as weight loss and use of assistive devices may help some people. If joints are seriously degenerated and are painful, surgery to replace joints or fuse bones may be performed.

There are no proven methods to prevent OA. Practices that promote healthy joints, such as exercise and weight loss, may delay the onset or reduce the severity of the disease.

page 1 of 8 | Next Page

Review Date: 10-01-2008

Living near a highway is now linked with rheumatoid arthritis.

Andrea Metcalf talks about treating aching joints.

Understanding how joints work is the first step to dealing with the pain of osteoarthritis

Dr. Nancy Snyderman reports on the relationship between your brain...

Big babies have an increased risk for developing rheumatoid...

Treating symptoms of pain when doctors can't find the cause.

News from Dr. Nancy Snyderman

Dr. Nancy Snyderman

Helpful tips and information on health and weight loss

Get the information you need


Home  |  Health Centers  |  Health A-Z  |  Staying Healthy  |  Diet & Fitness  |  Woman & Family  |   |   |  

also on iVision:  |   |   |   |   |   |   | 

 |   |  Site Map  |   | 

Copyright (c) 2000-2009 iVision Inc. All rights reserved. The information provided on this site is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition.