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
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
2 in 3 people who have osteoarthritis are female
General practitioners (GPs) are usually the first point of contact with the health care system for people with osteoarthritis  and they often play a coordinating role for the multidisciplinary management of osteoarthritis .
Management of osteoarthritis in general practice includes:
Osteoarthritis is among the most commonly managed conditions in general practice . In 2015–16, 2.9 of every 100 GP–patient encounters were for the management of osteoarthritis—about 3.6 million GP encounters. This has not changed since 2006–07.
There is currently no nationally consistent primary health care data collection monitoring provision of care by GPs. Note that statistics on general practice activities based on Bettering the Evaluation and Care of Health (BEACH) data are derived from a sample survey of GPs and their encounters with patients, and need to be interpreted with some caution.
Source:  (Data table).
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