Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis in the United States and is a leading cause of disability. It is typically defined in epidemiologic studies by radiographic findings and consideration of symptoms. Its incidence and prevalence are rising, likely related to the aging of the population and increasing obesity. Risk factors for OA include numerous person-level factors, such as age, sex, obesity, and genetics, as well as joint-specific factors that are likely reflective of abnormal loading of the joints. In studying OA, several methodologic challenges exist that can hamper our ability to identify pertinent relationships.
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