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For more information, go to www.arthritisresearchuk.org

Data on osteoarthritis of the knee

The knee is the most common site for osteoarthritis. The stress and impact of carrying the body’s weight and twisting and turning actions on the knee makes it prone to osteoarthritis.

Osteoarthritis of the knee can make walking, standing and sitting extremely painful, and drain people of energy.

How many people have osteoarthritis of the knee in the UK?

Just over half of all people who have sought treatment for osteoarthritis have knee osteoarthritis.* In the UK, this means:

  • 4.71 million people
  • Close to 20% of people aged 45 and over
  • 25% of women and 23% of men aged 75 years and over.

It is estimated that 4.11 million people have osteoarthritis of the knee in England, with 1.37 million people affected by the severe form of the condition.**

Women are more likely than men to have sought treatment for knee osteoarthritis.

Many treatments are available for osteoarthritis, but in severe cases knee replacement surgery may be necessary. Read more about the data on knee replacements due to osteoarthritis.

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

A graph to show the estimated number of people in the UK who have sought treatment for osteoarthritis of the knee by gender and age group

 

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

A graph to show the estimated proportion of people in the UK who have sought treatment for osteoarthritis of the knee by gender and age group

How many people may have osteoarthritis of the knee in the future?

The number of people in the UK with knee osteoarthritis is expected to rise considerably in the future.***

  • The number of people with osteoarthritis of the knee is estimated to increase from 4.7 million in 2010 to 5.4 million in 2020, reaching 6.4 million by 2035.
  • These figures rise to an estimated 6.5 million by 2020 and 8.3 million by 2035 when the increase in obesity, together with population growth and ageing is taken into account.
  • The increase in knee osteoarthritis will be substantial in those over 65 and greatest in those over 75.

Figure 3 – The estimated number of people in the UK who may have knee osteoarthritis, taking into account the size and ageing of the UK population

A graph to show the estimated number of people in the UK who will have osteoarthritis of the knee in the future

 

Figure 4 – The estimated number of people in the UK who may have knee osteoarthritis, taking into account obesity, the size and ageing of the UK population

The estimated number of people in the UK who may have knee osteoarthritis, taking into account obesity, the size and ageing of the UK population

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