Can You Prevent Osteoarthritis?

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

  • Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Ask the experts

Can osteoarthritis be prevented?

Doctor's response

Spontaneous osteoarthritis is, to a major degree, a result of inherited tendencies. We inherit the tendency to develop osteoarthritis from our parents and their parents, etc. Therefore, prevention is not technically possible.

Obesity has long been known to be a risk factor for osteoarthritis of the knee. However, by maintaining optimal weight, we can minimize the risk of developing and worsening osteoarthritis of the knees. We can also "prevent" osteoarthritis by minimizing the risks for injury of joints. For example, avoiding high-risk sports after certain ages, etc.

Medically reviewed by Robert Bargar, MD; Board Certification in Public Health & General Preventive Medicine


"Risk factors for and possible causes of osteoarthritis"

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Reviewed on 8/23/2017