A risk factor is something that increases your likelihood of getting a disease or condition.
It is possible to develop osteoarthritis (OA) with or without the risk factors listed below. However, the more risk factors you have, the greater your likelihood of developing OA. If you have a number of risk factors, ask your doctor what you can do to reduce your risk.
The risk of OA increases with age, especially in those over 50 years old. OA is more common in women than in men, but it affects men at an earlier age.
Other factors that may increase your chance of OA include:
- Family history
- Obesity, which causes extra strain on the joints
- Occupation—jobs or intense athletics that require a lot of lifting, squatting, or repetitive joint use
- Weakness of muscles or tendons—joints without proper support will have more stress
- Previous injury or surgery to the joint
- History of joint infection or disease
- Inherited structural abnormalities—may cause imbalance or misalignment that increases stress on joint
- Chemical or hormonal imbalances in the body—that may affect the health of cartilage
Last reviewedMay 2014by Michael Woods, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.