The Most Common Form of Arthritis

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, affecting millions of Americans. It is a disease that may be found in any joint, but most commonly affects your hands, knees, hips and spine. Osteoarthritis is more common as you age and the cartilage in your joints breaks down. As the cartilage wears away, the bones often rub together and cause bone, ligament and tendon damage, as well as pain.

Risk factors for developing osteoarthritis include:

  • Family history of arthritis
  • Obesity
  • Highly active lifestyle
  • Previous traumatic injuries

Symptoms, Diagnosis and Outlook

Osteoarthritis typically appears at or after middle age, with most people over 70 having symptoms in some joints. Symptoms include joint pain and stiffness, which may cause difficulty sleeping. The pain may get worse after exercise and feel better when at rest.

If you suffer from joint pain, our physicians will conduct a full exam and may order additional tests, including:

  • Ultrasound
  • X-Ray
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

Although osteoarthritis can’t be cured, there are effective medical treatments, including medication and injections that can help control symptoms. Surgery, such as joint replacement, is an option, but medical treatment that controls symptoms can delay surgery. Physical therapy and rehabilitation can also help improve muscle strength and mobility.

Experts in Care

Meet our doctors, view their profiles and select the one that’s right for you.

Find a doctor near you

Why Choose Penn State Health for Care

Coordinated, Specialized Care

Our rheumatologists work with your primary care physician and other specialists at Penn State Health, including orthopedic surgeons, to manage your osteoarthritis and the underlying health conditions that contribute to the disease. Our physicians care for thousands of patients each year with arthritis and soft tissue inflammatory conditions.

Advancing Arthritis Treatment Through Research

The doctors and researchers in rheumatology and at the Center for Orthopaedic Research and Translational Science at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center are committed to advancing their field through scientific discovery and education. As the only academic medical center in central Pennsylvania, Hershey Medical Center is a national leader in research and on the leading edge of new treatment options, including clinical trials, in partnership with Penn State College of Medicine.

Support Groups

Support groups provide an opportunity to share your feelings and connect with other patients and caregivers who are experiencing similar struggles.

Learn more about support groups offered

Convenient Locations

Find the care your family needs, close to home, at one of our many locations throughout central Pennsylvania.

Find a location near you