Clinical Manifestations of Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is a heterogeneous condition with a variable presentation and a variety of patterns of expression.

Occasional muscle or joint pain or stiffness is a part of life for most elderly.  In those with OA, the clinical onset of the condition consists of little more than gradual awareness of an intermittent increase in the frequency and severity of such problems, perhaps with symptoms becoming increasingly localized to one or a few joint sites.  Because of this, presentation for medical care is often delayed by many months or even years after the onset.  Moreover, the availability of over-the-counter pain and anti-inflammatory medications allows patients control their own condition to a functional level.  By the time most patients get to see a specialist, they have already developed the
signs and symptoms of established OA.
There are, unfortunately, few studies that describe the
natural history and response to therapy of various musculoskeletal syndromes in the elderly.