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Osteoarthritis is a condition in which the joints of the body become damaged, stop moving freely and become painful. It's the most common form of arthritis in the UK.

The risk of developing osteoarthritis increases from the late 40s.

How many people have osteoarthritis in the UK?

In the UK, 8.75 million people in the UK have sought treatment for osteoarthritis.* This means:

  • 33% of people aged 45 years and over
  • 49% of women and 42% of men of those aged 75 years and over.

Women are more likely than men to have sought treatment.

Figure 1 – The estimated number of people in the UK who have sought treatment for osteoarthritis, by gender and age group

A bar graph showing the number of people who have have sought treatment for OA

Figure 2 – The estimated proportion of people in the UK who have sought treatment for osteoarthritis, by gender and age group

A graph showing the percentages of people who have sought consultations for OA

How many people have ostaoarthritis in England?

7.3 million people in England  have sought treatment for osteoarthritis. This represents 33% of the population over 45.*

Which joints are affected by osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis can affect any joint. The knee is the most common site in the body for osteoarthritis, followed by the hip. It's common to have it in more than one joint.

4.11 million people in England are estimated to have osteoarthritis of the knee (around 18% of the population aged 45 and over) and 2.46 million people in England have osteoarthritis of the hip (around 11% of the population aged 45 and over).**

Figure 3 – The estimated number of people in England, aged 45 or over, who have sought treatment for osteoarthritis by joint site

Joint Percentage of population Estimated number (million)
Knee* 18% 4.7
Hip** 11% 2.46
Hand and wrist* 6% 1.3
Foot and ankle* 7% 1.48
Two or more sites* 7%  1.46

For more information on osteoarthritis in these areas, follow the links below:

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New data emphasise the need for a national public health approach to address osteoarthritis

Graphic of a bar chart

Projections by Arthritis Research UK highlight the escalating impact of knee osteoarthritis; over 8 million people in the UK are predicted to be seeking treatment for the condition in general practice by 2035.


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