Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most prevalent type of arthritis, affecting more than three million Canadians — that’s one in 10! Though once referred to as the “wear-and-tear” arthritis, the Osteoarthritis Research Society International (OARSI) recently re-defined this condition. It describes OA as the result of the body’s failed attempt to repair damaged joint tissues. However, OA isn’t always developed due to abnormal stresses or injury; it may also occur as part of the normal aging process.
OA leads to the breakdown of cartilage (the tough elastic material that covers and protects the ends of bones) and the underlying bone, resulting in pain, stiffness, swelling and bone-on-bone reduction in range of movement in the affected joint. The joints most commonly affected by OA are the knees, hips and those in the hands and spine.
The cause of OA is complex with many factors involved such as age, obesity, gender, occupation (injury as a result of a physical job), participation in certain sports, history of joint injury or surgery and genetics.
Read our Osteoarthritis - Causes, Treatment and Symptoms publication to find out more about OA.