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reviewed 7/23/2018

Osteoarthritis symptoms and facts

Osteoarthritis (OA) can have different effects on different parts of the body. Learn the symptoms, risk factors and common treatments associated with this common condition.

Osteoarthritis can affect almost any joint. Over 33% of Americans age 65 or older have it. It's often caused by wear and tear, and typical symptoms are pain and stiffness that develop over time, but OA can look a little different in different parts of the body.

Spine and neck

Symptoms:

Neck and/or back pain, numbness in the arms or hands.

Major risk factor:

Traumatic injury, including injuries from car crashes or sports.

Common treatments:

Medication, physical therapy, steroid injections.

Fast fact:

4 in 5 adults have back pain at some point in their lives.

Hands

Symptoms:

Dull or burning pain, deformed joints, swelling.

Major Risk Factors:

Family history, traumatic injury.

Common treatments:

Medication, steroid injections, splints, surgery.

Fast fact:

Up to 8 in 10 women age 80 or older have OA in the base of a thumb.

Hips

Symptoms:

Pain in the groin or thigh that radiates to the knee or buttocks.

Major risk factor:

Family history or OA.

Common treatments:

Weight loss, switching to lower-impact exercises like swimming or cycling, physical therapy, assistive devices, medications, surgery.

Fast fact:

The hip is the second most commonly replaced joint (the knee is No. 1).

Knees

Symptoms:

Knee pain, creaking, noise, buckling.

Major risk factor:

Excess weight.

Common treatments:

Weight loss, switching to lower-impact exercises like swimming or cycling, physical therapy, assistive devices, medications, surgery.

Fast fact:

1 in 4 people with knee OA can't handle major everyday activities without help.

Sources: American Academy of Family Physicians; American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons; Arthritis Foundation; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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