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

Our purpose is to transform access to education.

We offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.

We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, so our courses offer the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go, helping you make fresh discoveries and form new ideas.
You can unlock new opportunities with unlimited access to hundreds of online short courses for a year by subscribing to our Unlimited package. Build your knowledge with top universities and organisations.

Learn more about how FutureLearn is transforming access to education