Osteoarthritis (OA) affects all articular tissues and finally leads to joint failure. Although articular tissues have long been considered unresponsive to estrogens or their deficiency, there is now increasing evidence that estrogens influence the activity of joint tissues through complex molecular pathways that act at multiple levels. Indeed, we are only just beginning to understand the effects of estrogen deficiency on articular tissues during OA development and progression, as well as on the association between OA and osteoporosis. Estrogen replacement therapy and current selective estrogen receptor modulators have mixed effectiveness in preserving and/or restoring joint tissue in OA. Thus, a better understanding of how estrogen acts on joints and other tissues in OA will aid the development of specific and safe estrogen ligands as novel therapeutic agents targeting the OA joint as a whole organ.