Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common type of arthritis. It is caused by the breakdown of cartilage in the joints.
When the cartilage in a joint begins to break down, it results in swelling and pain in the joint. As cartilage continues to wear away, bones begin to rub against each other. This bone-on-bone contact causes stiffness, swelling, and pain in the joint.
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative form of arthritis and is a chronic (long-term) disease. Because this disease is caused by wearing away of the cartilage, more people develop it as they age.
Who Gets Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis usually occurs in people aged 50 years or older and is more common in women than in men.
This type of arthritis can sometimes run in families, especially when it affects the small joints in the hands.
Other risk factors for the disease include age, being overweight, excessive use of a joint, and suffering a serious injury to a joint.
People who are overweight are at higher risk of getting osteoarthritis in their weight-bearing joints such as the knees, hips, and the joints in their feet.