See how well you understand osteoarthritis and how it’s treated with this true/false quiz.

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease that affects the load-bearing joints,.
What Is Osteoarthritis?

  1. Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis.
  2. No one knows who will develop osteoarthritis.
  3. Grinding or cracking in a joint is a potential sign of osteoarthritis.
  4. Steroid (cortisone) injections are the best possible treatment for osteoarthritis.
  5. It doesn’t really matter whether or not you prepare for a joint replacement surgery.


1. True. It’s estimated that 27 million Americans older than 25 have osteoarthritis1, which makes it by far the most common type of arthritis. The most commonly affected joint for osteoarthritis is the knee. In adults age 60 and older, about 10% of men and 13% of women have symptomatic knee osteoarthritis.2

2. False. Although the exact cause of osteoarthritis is unknown, there are several known risk factors that raise the chances for developing the condition. These include:

  • Being older than age 50
  • Having a close relative with a history of osteoarthritis
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Having a former injury in the affected joint

See Osteoarthritis Causes

3. True. While it’s perfectly normal for a joint to pop or crack occasionally, one that does it consistently may be a sign of osteoarthritis—especially if it’s accompanied by pain. Other potential symptoms of osteoarthritis include:

  • Joint pain that gets worse with activity
  • Joint stiffness, especially in the morning or after sitting for a while
  • Swelling of the joint
  • Weakness or instability in the joint

See Osteoarthritis Symptoms and Signs

4. False. Cortisone injections can be a good way to temporarily relieve pain, which can allow you to start physical therapy or an exercise routine to strengthen an affected joint. But they don’t treat the joint damage itself—in fact, they can make damage worse by degrading soft tissues if they are administered too frequently. 

See What to Know Before Getting a Cortisone Injection

In addition, cortisone injections aren’t effective for everyone, and they can cause side effects such as cortisone flares or high blood pressure. The shots can be a great tool for temporary pain relief, but they should be used in conjunction with a larger treatment plan.

5. False. Preparing for a joint replacement can give you a “head start” on rehabilitation and help you recover more quickly. This is particularly true if you do exercises beforehand to strengthen muscles surrounding the joint. Being prepared for joint surgery also may help you minimize the risk for a post-surgical complication. 

See What to Expect After Knee Replacement

Visit the Osteoarthritis Health Center on Arthritis-health to learn much more about osteoarthritis.

Learn more:

How Arthritis Causes Back Pain

Spine Anatomy and Osteoarthritis


  1. Lawrence RC et al. Estimates of the prevalence of arthritis and other rheumatic conditions in the United States: Part II. Arthritis Rheum. 2008 Jan;58(1):26-35.
  2. Zhang Y, Jordan JM. Epidemiology of Osteoarthritis. Clinics in geriatric medicine. 2010;26(3):355-369. doi:10.1016/j.cger.2010.03.001.