Osteoarthritis Risk Factors

When something increases your chances of developing a condition or disease, then that something is considered a risk factor for you.

A person can have osteoarthritis with or without the list of risk factors shown below – If you have multiple risk factors, the greater the chance of you developing osteoarthritis. If you indeed have multiple risk factors, you can talk to your doctor about ways to lessen those risks.

Lifestyle Factors

Lack of exercise can lead to the weakening of the thigh muscles that in turn adds to your chances of getting osteoarthritis in the knee. To help protect your thigh muscles from this condition, exercises that tonify these muscles are highly recommended.

Medical Condition

The chances of developing osteoarthritis are greatly increased if you have or have had:

Bleeding into the joint
Pdeudgout or gout
Iron overload disease (hemochromatosis)
Paget’s disease of bone
Weakness of congenital defect of a joint
The joint’s history of infection
Past surgery to the joint
Previous injury to a joint


About half of seniors 65 and older suffer from arthritis in at least one joint
More than 80% of seniors over 75 years of age suffer from arthritis in at least one joint
These seniors may not necessarily show significant or severe symptoms of osteoarthritis


45 years and older – More men than women experience osteoarthritis
55 years and older – More women than men suffer from osteoarthritis

Genetic Factors

Osteoarthritis tends to develop in people who have a family history of this disease

Ethnic Background

Different ethnicities exhibit distinct risk factors for developing osteoarthritis.

African-American females exhibit less osteoarthritis of the hand and more osteoarthritis of the knee compared to Caucasian women in the US.
Knee and hip osteoarthritis is commonly found among the Japanese. Asian Indians, Black South Africans, Jamaican and Chinese people exhibit less osteoarthritis than the Japanese.
Compared to Asians, Caucasians have a higher chance of developing osteoarthritis.

You have a high chance to develop osteoarthritis if you:

Vigorously participate in activities that entail a lot of squatting, lifting or repetitive joint use. This may be because the nature of your work which entails routine and repetitive use of your joints or if you are an athlete who performs repetitive workouts that involve the use of the joints.

Emily Farish is a licensed acupuncturist in Spokane, WA and the founder of Emily Farish Acupuncture.