Why is this important?
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, and one of the leading causes of pain and disability worldwide. The most commonly affected peripheral joints are the knees, hips and small hand joints. Pain, reduced function and effects on a person's ability to carry out their day-to-day activities can be important consequences of osteoarthritis.1
Osteoarthritis is not an inevitable part of ageing and not necessarily progressive. Symptoms can be managed and the level of physical activity improved by the modification of risk factors. Current guidelines recommend a combination of non-pharmacological and pharmacological management as the core treatment for osteoarthritis at all stages of the disease. This core treatment includes patient education and self-management, exercise, weight loss for those who are overweight, joint protection and medicines. Timely access to knee replacement or joint conserving surgery is recommended when, and only when, core treatment no longer provides adequate pain relief or maintenance of function.2