Osteoarthritis is a degenerative condition that mostly affects the hands, spine and joints such as hips, knees and ankles, and usually gets worse over time. It is the predominant condition leading to knee and hip replacement surgery in Australia.
38% rise in the rate of total knee replacements for osteoarthritis from 2005–06 to 2015–16
2 in 3 people who have osteoarthritis are female
1 in 4 people with osteoarthritis self-reported fair or poor health, twice as much as people without the condition
1 in 11 Australians (9%) have osteoarthritis, approximately 2.1 million people in 2014–15
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative condition that mostly affects the hands, spine and joints such as hips, knees and ankles, and usually gets worse over time.
Normally healthy cartilage allows bones to glide over one another and helps absorb the shock of physical movement. In osteoarthritis the cartilage that covers the ends of the bones in the joints begins to break down and wear away, causing the bones to rub together, creating pain, swelling and loss of motion.
The main symptoms of osteoarthritis are pain, stiffness and limited joint movement. At first pain is felt during and after activity, but as the condition worsens pain may be felt during minor movements or even at rest. Affected joints may become enlarged and tender, affecting fine motor skills and leading to difficulty in performing everyday activities.
The symptoms of osteoarthritis can vary from one person to another, and for a particular person, can vary considerably over time, and in specific sites around a joint.
A range of factors contribute to the onset and progression of osteoarthritis [1,2,3], including:
It is also the predominant condition leading to hip and knee replacement surgery in Australia . Clinical guidelines in Australia recommend joint replacement surgery as a cost effective intervention for people with severe osteoarthritis who are unresponsive to medication and exercise .
The American College of Rheumatology guidelines strongly recommend people with osteoarthritis to participate in cardiovascular (aerobic) and/or resistance land-based and aquatic exercises .
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