What is osteoarthritis (OA)?
Osteoarthritis (OA) is a condition that affects the whole joint including bone, cartilage, ligaments and muscles. Osteoarthritis can affect any joint but occurs most often in the knees, hips, finger joints and big toe. Osteoarthritis can develop at any age but tends to be more common in people aged over 40 years or those who have had joint injuries.
What are the symptoms?
The symptoms of OA vary from person to person. Your symptoms will also depend on which joints are affected. OA tends to come on slowly, over months or even years. The most common symptoms are pain and stiffness of the joints. These sensations are usually worst with activity initially but can be more constant in later disease. These symptoms may affect your ability to do normal daily activities, such as walking, climbing stairs and opening jars. Other symptoms may include clicking noises, grating sensations, or a loss of flexibility in a joint.
What causes it?
Research shows there are some things that may put you at more risk of developing OA in certain joints, such as:
- knees: being overweight; having a previous knee injury; jobs involving kneeling; climbing and squatting.
- hips: being overweight; having a previous hip injury; jobs involving lifting heavy loads (including farming); a family history of OA.
- hands: a family history of OA; repetitive use or previous injuries to the hands; being overweight.
For more information about Osteoarthritis, download the info sheet.