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.

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

Who can help?

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. 

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

What can I do to manage my osteoarthritis?

Keeping healthy, especially when you have arthritis, can be hard. There's no one-size-fits-all way to manage arthritis. But, using H.A.P.P.Y. helps us remember the key things we can do each day to look after our arthritis and our overall health:

  • Healthy Weight
  • Physical Activity
  • Protect Your Joints
  • Positive Behaviours
  • Your Healthcare Team

Read more

More information and support

Order your free information booklet Taking control of your Osteoarthritis

Register for our online exercise program, Arthritis Moves!

My Joint Pain, an online tool by Arthritis Australia and Bupa Health Foundation for managing osteoarthritis. 

Join one of our online support groups to connect with other Australians living with arthritis. 

    Download our free information sheet - Osteoarthritis

      You can make a difference by supporting the work of Arthritis Queensland. Arthritis Queensland is 95% community funded. We rely on our generous donors and volunteers to ensure that we can continue to provide solutions and support to adults and children living with the pain of arthritis.