Evaluation of hip, knee and hand osteoarthritis (OA) involves clinical and radiological outcome measures. Clinical, mainly visual analog scale (VAS) for pain, algofunctional or Lequesne's indices for hip and knee OA, Western Ontario and Mac Master Universities OA Index (WOMAC) for hip and knee OA, Dreiser's functional index for hand OA and some quality-of-life (QoL) indices are presented and discussed. Their utility is considered according to various uses: assessment of OA severity and course in therapeutic trials, in daily practice, as a help for surgical decision, and with regard to QoL as instruments for establishing the place of OA among differing chronic rheumatic conditions. Radiological assessment methods, especially for potential structure-modifying drug trials, mainly involve either manual measurement of joint space narrowing on radiographs over a period of several years, or measurement on X-ray digitized images. Last but not least, to conclude this review, we propose a selection of the most rapid and practical instruments allowing OA assessment in daily practice, with appropriate comments.