Osteoarthritis is the most prevalent musculoskeletal disease in the world. In Spain, osteoarthritis affects more than 7 million people and according to the EPISER 2016 study, the prevalence of osteoarthritis in one or more locations in the population over 40 years of age is 29.35%.

According to EPISER 2016 in population over 40 years of age the prevalence of lumbar osteoarthritis is 15.52%, knee osteoarthritis 13.83%, cervical osteoarthritis 10.10%, hand osteoarthritis 7.73% and hip osteoarthritis 5.13%.

Osteoarthritis is the disease of an organ: the joint. In osteoarthritis all the tissues that form it are altered: the cartilage, the subchondral bone, the synovial membrane, the joint capsule, the menisci, the bursae, the ligaments and the muscles. The origin of these alterations is diverse.

The main symptoms are pain and limitation of joint function. Stiffness, crepitus, swelling, restriction of joint range of motion, joint instability or muscle atrophy may be added depending on the case.

Osteoarthritis can affect any joint in the body, but it is most common in weight-bearing joints, such as the knees, hips, hands and spine. It can also affect joints in the fingers, shoulders and other areas.

Diagnosis of osteoarthritis is made through a physical examination after which imaging tests, such as X-rays, ultrasound or MRI, may be ordered to assess the condition of the joints, cartilage wear and the presence of degenerative changes.

During the physical examination, the physician will assess joint mobility, look for signs of inflammation, such as swelling or redness, and perform specific tests to evaluate range of motion and joint strength.

Imaging tests are useful for visualizing joints and assessing the degree of wear and damage. X-rays are a common tool used to detect osteoarthritis, as they can show joint space narrowing, osteophyte formation and other signs of joint degeneration. Ultrasound and MRI can provide more detailed information about other joint structures such as the synovial membrane, cartilage and surrounding tissues.