Shechar Dworski, BSc
Osteoarthritis (OA) is common in the elderly, affecting as many as 80% of people aged 55 and over. It is the most common form of arthritis, occurring mostly, but not exclusively, in the elderly. It is also the most common musculoskeletal disease in the elderly. It affects mostly the hands, as well as the major weight bearing joints of the body which are primarily the hips and knees. Please refer to the article on Osteoarthritis: Early Diagnosis Improves Prognosis in the May/June 1999 issue of Geriatrics & Aging for more information on the symptoms and specific aspects of OA. There are several routes one may take to treat OA, as well as many preventive measures. Joint replacement is usually the last step, when all other treatments have been unsuccessful. At this stage of disease, people often have difficulty walking and climbing stairs, and have joint pain at rest and at night. In this case, joint replacement therapy is extremely effective at relieving pain and improving function.