What is osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative condition mostly affecting the joints such as hips, knees and ankles. The main symptoms include pain, stiffness and limited joint movement which get worse over time. Normally, healthy cartilage allows bones to glide over one nother. In people with osteoarthritis, the cartilage covering the bone ends in the joints breaks down and wears away, causing the bones to rub together, creating pain, swelling and loss of motion.

Who gets osteoarthritis?

Based on self-reported data from the most recent Australian Bureau of Statistics National Health Survey (2011–12), 1.8 million Australians (8%) reported having osteoarthritis. It is more common in women (10.2%) than men (5.6%).

The prevalence of osteoarthritis rises with age. While relatively few younger people have this condition, the prevalence rises sharply from age 45

Fast facts

1 in 13

Australians (8%) reported having osteoarthritis— that’s 1.8 million people

2 out of 3

people with osteoarthritis are female, based on self-reported data

2 x

as many people with osteoarthritis self-reported fair or poor health (24%) compared to people without osteoarthritis (13%