What is osteoarthritis (OA)?

Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis. Some people call it degenerative joint disease or “wear and tear” arthritis. It occurs most frequently in the hands, hips, and knees.

With OA, the cartilage within a joint begins to break down and the underlying bone begins to change. These changes usually develop slowly and get worse over time. OA can cause pain, stiffness, and swelling. In some cases it also causes reduced function and disability; some people are no longer able to do daily tasks or work.


Osteoarthritis (OA) is characterized by:

  • Pain, swelling, and stiffness in the joint that is worse in the morning and following periods of inactivity.
  • A reduction of symptoms will usually result with lightened activity.
  • Pain typically begins in only one or a few joints, and is most common in the weight-bearing joints of the hips, knees, and feet.
  • Symptoms also can occur in the fingers, toes, neck, and low back.



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