A risk factor is something that increases your likelihood of getting a disease or condition.

It is possible to develop osteoarthritis (OA) with or without the risk factors listed below. However, the more risk factors you have, the greater your likelihood of developing OA. If you have a number of risk factors, ask your doctor what you can do to reduce your risk.

The risk of OA increases with age, especially in those over 50 years old. OA is more common in women than in men, but it affects men at an earlier age.

Other factors that may increase your chance of OA include:

    
  • Family history
  • Obesity, which causes extra strain on the joints
  • Occupation—jobs or intense athletics that require a lot of lifting, squatting, or repetitive joint use
  • Weakness of muscles or tendons—joints without proper support will have more stress
  • Previous injury or surgery to the joint
  • History of joint infection or disease
  • Inherited structural abnormalities—may cause imbalance or misalignment that increases stress on joint
  • Chemical or hormonal imbalances in the body—that may affect the health of cartilage