Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common chronic condition of the joints, affecting about 27 million Americans1. Osteoarthritis is most often found in older people, but can occur in younger people as well2.
Osteoarthritis occurs when there is a breakdown in the cartilage covering the ends of bones where they meet to form a joint and allow movement. As the cartilage wears away, bones become exposed and rub against each other. The deterioration of cartilage also affects the shape and makeup of the joint so that it no longer functions smoothly2.
Osteoarthritis has no single, specific cause and there are several factors involved in the disease, including heredity and lifestyle3. The hands and knees are two examples of areas affected by OA2.
If you think you may have osteoarthritis, you should talk to your healthcare professional.