Osteoarthritis (degenerative joint disease, osteoarthrosis) is the most common joint condition amongst older people. It is often thought to be caused by wear and tear of joints. Few people get painful joints before 50 years old. Changes to joints which are visible on Xrays that are due to osteoarthritis are present in most people over 50 years old, although very many will not have significant symptons from it. As the disease progresses, the joints get stiffer and bending them more painful.
Deaths directly from osteoarthritis are very rare, but treatments for it carry some risk. Deaths due to falls, in which it might have been a contributary factor, are counted separately within Falls Map 477. Disability due to osteoarthritis, especially difficulty walking due to osteoarthritis in the hip joints, is considerable.
Global Burden of Disease estimated in 2002 Osteoarthritis caused 2.6% of all years spent living with a disability worldwide, 3.1% of all female disability.
Osteoarthritis caused 0.0083% of all deaths worldwide in 2002, an average of 1 death per million people per year.