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Osteoarthritis (OA) most often affects joints in the hand, knee, hip, and spine but can affect any joint. OA can occur in one joint or several. It often affect one side of the body more than the other. Some people have symptoms that get worse, while others have symptoms that stabilize.
Hallmark symptoms of OA include:
Increased pain and stiffness in the joint, especially when the joint is used or stressed (pain may subside while resting)
Gradual loss of range of motion in the affected joint
Joint instability, which may give the feeling of the joint giving out
Grating or creaking sound when moving the joint
Deformed or misshapen joints with or without visible nodes on the bones
Swelling—joint may appear red or inflamed
Pain may be specific to activity and the joint affected. For example, knee pain may occur when climbing or going down stairs. Hip pain may occur when moving or bending.
If left untreated, OA can lead to significant disability.
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
Degenerative joint disease of the hip. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated November 17, 2014. Accessed December 1, 2014.
Degenerative joint disease of the knee. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated November 25, 2014. Accessed December 1, 2014.
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases
website. Available at:
http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health%5FInfo/Osteoarthritis/default.asp. Updated August 2013. Accessed December 1, 2014.
Sinusas, K. Osteoarthritis: Diagnosis and treatment.
Am Fam Physician. 2012;85(1):49-56.