The aim of this study was to validate a translated version of the Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC) questionnaire in Spanish patients with hip or knee osteoarthritis (OA). The WOMAC questionnaire and the SF-36 were administered to a sample of 269 patients on the waiting list for hip or knee replacement. We studied the convergent validity and the item-scale correlation using Pearson's correlation coefficient and Spearman's pi. For the reliability study we used another sample of 58 patients who received the WOMAC twice within 15 days. The Pearson's, Spearman's pi, and intraclass correlation coefficients were calculated. Internal consistency was measured by Cronbach's alpha. The responsiveness study was carried out by resending the two questionnaires to all patients 6 months after surgical intervention; responsiveness was measured by means of the paired t-test, the effect size I and the standardised response mean. The Pearson's coefficients for the convergent validity ranged from -0.52 to -0.63. The coefficients obtained for the item-scale correlation of the pain area were 0.74 or higher, 0.91 or higher for stiffness, and 0.61 or higher for function. When measuring the test-retest reliability, the coefficients ranged from 0.66 to 0.81. Internal consistency yielded a Cronbach's alpha ranging from 0.81 to 0.93. The responsiveness showed an effect size I ranging from 1.5 to 2.2 in patients who underwent hip replacement; for those who underwent knee replacement the range was 1 to 1.8. The standardised response mean ranged from 1.3 to 1.9 for patients with hip OA; those with knee OA ranged from 0.8 to 1.5. The Spanish version of WOMAC is a valid, reliable and responsive instrument in patients with hip or knee OA.