What is Osteoarthritis (OA)?

Osteoarthritis (OA) is the commonest form of arthritis. It is often referred to as ‘wear and tear damage’. It causes pain and stiffness in the joints.


Symptoms of Osteoarthritis

The symptoms can be variable between patients and are not strictly related to the degree of the X-ray changes.

Symptoms include:


Causes of Osteoarthritis

Cartilage is usually a smooth supple material that covers the ends of bones within joints that move. It allows the bones to move within the joint with minimal friction. In OA, the cartilage becomes thinner and rough. This causes the forces that pass through the joint to alter, leading to the crunching sound in the joint on movement and some restriction in joint movement. The bones can change shape and thicken in places, forming bony spurs called osteophytes. The lining of the joints and surrounding tendons (called the synovium and tenosynovium respectively), can become inflamed from time to time. This leads to joint swelling which usually settles down quickly.

It is still not known what causes OA.


Risk factors that to developing Osteoarthritis

Certain risk factors can increase your chances of developing osteoarthritis.

How do we diagnose Osteoarthritis?

Your doctor will take a history of the problems you have experienced and examine your joints to arrive at this diagnosis.

X-rays can be helpful in delineating the damage.



There is no cure for osteoarthritis but changes to lifestyle, exercise, and pain killers can make it more manageable.


Weight management

Pain relief




Useful Links

Versus Arthritis:  http://www.versusarthritis.org