Arthritis is the name for a set of conditions that cause inflammation in the joints.
Osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage that normally cushions the ends of the bones in your joints gets worn away and the bones begin to rub against each other ("osteo" means bone). Osteoarthritis, also called degenerative joint disease or osteoarthrosis, is by far the most common form of arthritis.
Osteoarthritis usually affects only one joint in your body, although it can affect more. The most commonly affected joints are your hands, hips, knees, and spine, but osteoarthritis can affect any joint. While there is no cure for the condition, there are treatments that can help manage the pain and loss of mobility that often accompany the disease.
Around 12 percent of the U.S. population (nearly 21 million Americans) has osteoarthritis. The disease gets more common as people get older and occurs most frequently in people who are overweight and those whose jobs or lifestyles place a lot of stress on particular joints. Younger people can developoOsteoarthritis too, but it is often due to a joint injury, abnormal joint anatomy, or a genetic defect in joint cartilage.
Continued on page 2: What are the symptoms of osteoarthritis?