Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. It typically presents with joint symptoms such as pain and stiffness, mostly affecting the knee, hip, hand and foot joints. Symptoms vary from mild and intermittent, to more persistent or severe. The condition does not inevitably get worse, but symptoms fluctuate and flares are common. Osteoarthritis has a negative impact on daily activities, quality of life and health outcomes. It can affect people's physical, social and emotional life; more than half of people with osteoarthritis report that it seriously affects their family and working life.
Osteoarthritis is more common in women, people living in deprived areas, people aged 45 and over and people living with obesity. The prevalence of osteoarthritis is increasing. Many people with osteoarthritis have multiple long-term conditions, making their care more complex.
NICE produced a guideline on the care and management of osteoarthritis in 2014. This updated guideline makes recommendations on diagnosing and managing osteoarthritis, based on new evidence. This includes information and support, non‑pharmacological and pharmacological treatments, follow-up, and referral for joint replacement. The aim of this guideline is to improve management of osteoarthritis and the quality of life for people with the condition.