We retrospectively studied 369 cases of knee osteoarthritis in 240 patients seen at the Cocody Teaching Hospital in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, from November 1984 through March 1989. There were 126 cases (34.14%) of patellofemoral osteoarthritis, 104 cases (28.18%) of femorotibial osteoarthritis and 139 cases (37.66%) of global knee osteoarthritis (defined as patellofemoral and femorotibial osteoarthritis in the same joint). There was a marked female bias (80.42% of patients). Onset was earlier in patellofemoral osteoarthritis (51.25 years) than in femorotibial osteoarthritis (57.85 years). Half the patients (51.25%) were housewives. The Akan and Mandé ethnic groups contributed 61.54% and 33.03% of patients, respectively. Obesity was present in 19.04% of cases of patellofemoral osteoarthritis and in 10.57% of cases of femorotibial osteoarthritis. Of the patients with femorotibial osteoarthritis, 20.20% had a history of arthritis of the knee and of those with global knee osteoarthritis, 12.23% reported a prior injury to the knee. Varus deformity was found in 24.03% and valgus deformity in 19.23% of the patients with femorotibial osteoarthritis.