Epidemiology of Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of joint disorder. It occurs slightly more often in women. A genetic predisposition is seen for some locations of osteoarthritis, e.g. rheumatoid arthritis of the fingers. Elderly people are commonly affected. Pain is the most prevalent symptom but does not correlate with joint destruction.

Globally approximately 250 million people have osteoarthritis of the knee (3.6% of the population).1 Osteoarthritis affects nearly 27 million people in the United States, accounting for 25% of visits to primary care physicians, and half of all NSAID prescriptions. It is estimated that 80% of the population have radiographic evidence of OA by age 65, although only 60% of those will have symptoms.2


1 Vos T et al. Years lived with disability (YLDs) for 1160 sequelae of 289 diseases and injuries 1990-2010: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study. Lancet. 2010; 380(9859): 2163–96.
2 Green GA Understanding NSAIDs: from aspirin to COX-2. Clin Cornerstone. 2001;  3(5):50-60.