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How common is knee osteoarthritis?

A photo of knees taken from the front

A Chinese research group has compiled data from 88 different scientific studies on the prevalence of knee osteoarthritis. The studies were from all around the world and together included more than 10 million people.

The researchers estimated that for individuals aged 40 years and older, the global prevalence of knee osteoarthritis is around 23%. This means that almost every fourth person over the age of 40 has osteoarthritis of the knee. These figures show that approximately 654 million people over the age of 40 have knee osteoarthritis worldwide.

The global prevalence of knee osteoarthritis in individuals aged 15 and older was 16%.

Differences in prevalence of knee osteoarthritis depending on region are largely due to the prevalence of obesity, but may also be due to education level and heavy manual labour. Lower education level is often associated with heavy physical activity. 

The study highlights the global burden of knee osteoarthritis. It also points to the need for both better preventive measures and the development of new effective treatments for the various stages of the joint disease.

Read the whole study here.