Natural history of Osteoarthristis
It is difficult to give any exact opinion on how things will go with any particular joint or person, as the course of OA varies greatly.
Osteoarthritis usually takes years to develop to the level where it begins to interfere with the person’s life.
Typically, the symptoms bumble on with worse and better periods, with flare ups at times when the joint can be much worse for days or weeks.
Others may notice very little change in the status of their joint over a long period, even years. Interestingly, there is evidence that finger and hips joints can show not only symptomatic improvement but also improvement on xray.
In the most commonly affected joints, the fingers tend to progress the most quickly, the knees the most slowly, with hips inbetween. Change in joint pain and bony destruction can be rapid in some cases, leading to a severe worsening in the person’s functional status.