Although aging itself is a risk factor for OA and decreases the ability of cartilage to heal itself, it's not the sole cause.

OA of the Knee Risk Factors Image

Other factors include:

  • Genetics and gender—In a study of female twins, heredity contributed to 39 to 65% of the hand and knee OA that developed. And OA of the knee is twice as common in women as in men.
  • Obesity/overweight—Excessive weight can stress cartilage and alter body mechanics.
  • Injuries—Prior injuries to knee cartilage or ligaments or a fracture of the joint can lead to knee OA years later.
  • Repetitive overuse of the joint—For example, kneeling or squatting repeatedly over time can damage the knee.
  • Other causes—Muscle weakness, poor bone alignment, poor aerobic fitness and the impact of nutritional imbalances are all being investigated.

Publication Review By: the Editorial Staff at

Published: 20 Feb 2010

Last Modified: 09 Oct 2014