Osteoarthritis is a frequent medical problem. In general practice, musculoskeletal problems account for one in 10 of new consultations, 18% of them for osteoarthritis . Many patients with osteoarthritis receive all the treatment they need from their general practitioner. Others require specialist rheumatological advice, and a few need joint replacement surgery. Guidelines for the care of this common problem as it affects the lower limbs will assist in the provision of the most appropriate care and help to identify areas where further research is necessary.