Osteoarthritis is a condition that affects the whole joint including bone, cartilage, ligaments and muscles. The area predominantly affected is the cartilage (the protective covering over the ends of your bones), which degenerates, or breaks down. This cartilage is what stops the bones in your joints from rubbing against each other. Damage to cartilage and surrounding structures can cause your joints to:

  • Become painful, stiff or swollen
  • Feel like they might lock up or give way

Sometimes you can have osteoarthritis and not feel any symptoms at all. The most common sites to feel pain are your hands, spine, hips, and knees.

Click here to view our online tool for OA.

Download our free Information Sheets:

Tips for Osteoarthritis of the Hip or Knee

What factors increase my risk of osteoarthritis?

  • Family history
  • Gender - females have a higher incidence of osteoarthritis
  • Age - it is more common as we get older
  • Overuse or injury to joints
  • Being overweight or obese

What can I do to manage my osteoarthritis?

Firstly, make sure you have an accurate diagnosis. It is best to visit your general practitioner (GP) first, to get appropriate tests and to come up with a treatment plan.

The best approach to treatment is a team approach.

You are the most important member of your healthcare team. Your team may also involve:

  • Your GP
  • Specialists (such as rheumatologists and orthopaedic specialists)
  • Allied health professionals (such as physiotherapists and occupational therapists)
  • Community organisations that may support you physically or mentally
  • Your friends and family who support you

At Arthritis Queensland, we provide and recommend a range of services that support you to manage your osteoarthritis.

  • Learn more about 'My Joint Pain', an online tool for managing your osteoarthritis, developed by Arthritis Australia and the Bupa Health Foundation.
  • Join Swell Gals, our online Facebook forum for women.
  • Join AQ Men's Support Group, our online Facebook forum for men.