Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis, affecting nearly one and a half million Australians. It can appear at any age, but tends to occur more commonly in women and in people aged over 40 years. Two of the most common areas affected are the hips and knees.
OA affects cartilage, the hard, slippery tissue that covers the ends of bones. In osteoarthritis, the surface layer of cartilage breaks down and wears away. When this happens, the bones can start to rub against each other. This leads to the symptoms of osteoarthritis: pain, swelling and stiffness.
The cause of OA is unknown, but it is believed that factors such as ageing, being overweight and joint injury may raise the risk of developing OA. Treatment of OA may include medication, exercise, weight loss and, if symptoms can no longer be controlled, joint replacement surgery. Hip and knee replacements are the most common joints replaced.
This Speaking From Experience DVD offers first-hand accounts from eight people living with osteoarthritis of the hip and knee. They discuss the impact it has had on their lives and the ways they manage the condition.
Produced June 2010