Often called "wear and tear" arthritis, osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis in Australia and New Zealand. Over time, joint cartilage usually breaks down, and OA symptoms — such as joint pain, swelling, tenderness, and stiffness — begin to occur. OA most commonly affects the knees, hips, fingers and spine, but can also affect other areas of the body.
Are you at risk of developing this condition? Read on to find out.
- Age: Age is the strongest risk factor for OA. When OA starts in young adulthood, it is often due to joint injury.
- Gender: Up to their mid-thirties, OA affects men and women equally. But after this age it is more common in women. Overall, 2 in 3 people who have osteoarthritis are women.
- Joint injury or overuse caused by physical labour or sports: Traumatic joint injury increases your risk of developing OA in that joint. Joints used repeatedly in certain jobs may be more likely to develop OA because of injury or overuse.
- Obesity: The chances of developing OA generally increases with the amount of weight the joints have to bear. The knee is particularly affected because it’s a major weight-bearing joint.
- Joint alignment: Some people have joints that don’t move or fit together correctly, as in bowlegs, dislocated hips, or double-jointedness. These joints are more likely to develop OA.
- Heredity: An inherited defect in one of the genes responsible for manufacturing cartilage may be a contributing factor in developing OA.
- 1. AIHW. Accessed 23/01/2017.
- 2. Osteoarthritis information booklet. Arthritis New Zealand.
- 3. Taking Control Of Your Osteoarthritis information booklet. Arthritis Australia 2015.
- 4. Osteoarthritis. Better Health Channel. Accessed 23/01/2017.
- 5. A Picture Of Osteoarthritis. Arthritis series no. 5. AIHW 2007.
- 6. March, LM, Bagga H. Epidemiology Of Osteoarthritis in Australia. Accessed 23/01/2017.