Skip main navigation

Prognosis

What is the course of osteoarthritis. This article describes what is the prognosis of osteoarthritis.
The natural history of OA is variable:

  • It does not necessarily progress to more severe radiographic disease
  • The life-time risk of knee joint replacement is 8-11%8 ………most people with knee OA will never need an arthroplasty
  • A significant number of people will experience no progression, and may even improve, over time.

scans and oa graphic

Major risk factors for knee OA structural progression include9:

  • Baseline knee pain – associated with a 2.4-fold increase in risk of progression
  • Presence of Heberden’s nodes- associated with a 2.7-fold increase in risk of progression
  • Knee varus malalignment
There is strong evidence that sex, former knee injury, quadriceps weakness, smoking, running and regular performance of sports are not associated with knee OA structural progression.

Major risk factors for worsening of pain and/or physical function include10,11:

  • Increasing age
  • Increasing body mass index
  • Increased co-morbidity count
  • Higher baseline severity (both radiographic and symptomatic)
  • Bilateral knee symptoms
  • Depressive symptoms
  • Muscle weakness
  • Slower walking speed

This article is from the free online

Physiotherapy Exercise and Physical Activity for Knee Osteoarthritis (PEAK)

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Reach your personal and professional goals

Unlock access to hundreds of expert online courses and degrees from top universities and educators to gain accredited qualifications and professional CV-building certificates.

Join over 18 million learners to launch, switch or build upon your career, all at your own pace, across a wide range of topic areas.

Start Learning now