Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Osteoarthritis Anatomy

To better understand osteoarthritis, it helps to understand the anatomy of the joints.

The bones in all joints have a smooth lining called articular cartilage. Cartilage provides a gliding surface to help joints move. All joints are lubricated with a slippery liquid known as synovial fluid.

Joint cartilage may break down due to inflammation, overuse or injury. This can result in the bones of a joint making contact. This in turn causes abnormal bone growth, more inflammation, pain and stiffness.

Anatomy of joints commonly affected by osteoarthritis:

  • Cervical spine
  • Knee
  • Lumbar spine
  • Hip
  • Lower extremity
  • Wrist and hand
  • Hand joints affected by osteoarthritis

Last Updated: Nov 1, 2008 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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