1. Health

Osteoarthritis Statistics Are Striking

Various Factors Causing Osteoarthritis Prevalence to Rise


Updated March 05, 2010

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Most people believe osteoarthritis is a minor arthritic condition. Most are unaware of how many people are affected by the disease and how many more will develop osteoarthritis, according to projections through 2030.

Did You Know?

The numbers show the magnitude of osteoarthritis in the United States. Consider these osteoarthritis statistics:

  • Twenty-seven million Americans have osteoarthritis.
  • One in 2 people will develop osteoarthritis during their lifetime.
  • The lifetime risk for developing knee osteoarthritis severe enough to cause symptoms is 45%.
  • The risk for knee osteoarthritis rises to 57% among people who had previous knee injury.
  • Three in 5 people who are obese are at risk for developing knee osteoarthritis during their lifetime.
  • Each year, 632,000 joint replacements are performed due to osteoarthritis.
  • There were 662,000 hospitalizations in 2004 due to osteoarthritis.
  • There were about 11.1 million physician and outpatient visits for osteoarthritis care in 2004.
  • About 25% of people with knee osteoarthritis have pain when they walk and have trouble performing major activities of daily living (walking, climbing, kneeling, stooping).

What You Can Expect

With an aging baby boomer population, increased life expectancy, and the increase in obesity serving as contributing factors -- osteoarthritis is expected to become more prevalent. Osteoarthritis will continue to have far-reaching health and socioeconomic effects. It's a serious situation and it must be dealt with seriously.


A National Public Health Agenda for Osteoarthritis. CDC. February 4, 2010.

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