Osteoarthritis is a major cause of disability in both the developed and developing world. With the population aging, the prevalence of osteoarthritis is increasing and its consequences are impacting significantly on society. This is one of the reasons why osteoarthritis has been adopted as a major focus (along with osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, back pain, and musculoskeletal trauma) by the global initiative--the Decade of Bone and Joint Disease. Adequate studies on the costs of osteoarthritis are urgently required so that cogent arguments can be made to governments to appropriately fund prevention and treatment programs for this condition. Its recognition as a major cause of disability, particularly in the aging population, should increase community focus on this important condition.