Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis among older people, and it is one of the most frequent causes of physical disability among older adults.
The disease affects both men and women. Before age 45, osteoarthritis is more common in men than in women. After age 45, osteoarthritis is more common in women.
Osteoarthritis occurs when cartilage, the tissue that cushions the ends of the bones within the joints, breaks down and wears away. In some cases, all of the cartilage may wear away, leaving bones that rub up against each other.
Symptoms of Osteoarthritis
Symptoms range from stiffness and mild pain that comes and goes to severe joint pain. Common signs include joint pain, swelling, and tenderness; stiffness after getting out of bed; and a crunching feeling or sound of bone rubbing on bone. Not everyone with osteoarthritis feels pain.
Osteoarthritis most commonly affects the hands, lower back, neck, and weight-bearing joints such as knees, hips, and feet. Osteoarthritis affects just joints, not internal organs.
Learn more about treatments for osteoarthritis from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.Back to resources