• Also known as degenerative joint disease
  • Most common form of arthritis
  • Characterized by degeneration of cartilage and bone within a joint as well as bony overgrowth
    • Causes bones to rub together and cause irritation
  • Breakdown of these tissues eventually leads to pain and joint stiffness
  • The joints most commonly affected are the knees, hips, and spine
  • Specific cause unknown (idiopathic)
  • Onset is gradual and typically after 40 y.o.
  • Currently no cure
    • Treatment focus on reliving symptoms, improve function, patient education, and physical therapy

Common Symptoms

  • Pain: Your joints may ache, or the pain may feel burning or sharp
  • Stiffness: Getting up in the morning can be hard. Your joints may feel stiff and creaky for a short time, until you get moving
  • Muscle weakness: The muscles around the joint may get weaker. This happen s a lot with arthritis in the knee
  • Swelling: Arthritis can cause swelling in your joints , making them feel tender and sore
  • Deformed joints: Joints can start to look like they are the wrong shape, especially as arthritis gets worse
  • Reduced range of motion and loss of use of the joint: As your arthritis gets worse, you may not be able to fully bend , flex, or extend your joints

What Increases Risk?

Factors you can change

  • Overweight: extra weight puts added stress on your joints
  • Joint Injury: major injuries can cause cartilage damage over time
  • Lack of exercise: causes your muscles and joints to get weak and stiff

 Factors you cannot change

  • Old age: not a direct cause but you are more likely to have symptoms with age
  • Joint Infections
  • Other types of arthritis such as rheumatoid arthritis or psoriatic arthritis


  • Affects 13.9% of adults aged 25 or older in the United States
  • Affects 33.6% of those 65+ in the United States (12.4 million)
  • Radiographic (x-ray) findings show moderate to severe OA through narrowing of joint space


  • Weight loss
  • Assistive devices such as braces or canes may help reduce weight on joint as well as aid in balance
  • Medicine: aspirin or ibuprofen may help reduce pain and inflammation
  • Total Knee Replacement: recommended after consulting a physician and trying conservative physical therapy
  • Physical Therapy Care
    • Strengthening exercises
    • Manual therpay to improve mobility
    • Ice
    • Stretching