Osteoarthritis most often affects the joints of the hands (particularly the distal interphalangeal, proximal interphalangeal, and carpometacarpal joints), knees (both tibiofemoral and patellofemoral joints), hips, spine, and feet (especially the 1st metatarsophalangeal joint).
In many cases, multiple joints are affected with OA, such as the hands and the knees or the knees and the spine. Multiple joint osteoarthritis (OA) is also known as multi-joint OA, or “generalized” OA. OA involving several joints in this way has not been studied to the same extent as single joint OA, despite the increased functional impact of OA in multiple sites, and has been a focus of our work.
This figure shows the percentage of individuals with various combinations of joints affected by radiographic OA, for African Americans at the top and Whites at the bottom. There is a higher frequency of tibiofemoral (TFJ) involvement, alone and with spine involvement, among African Americans, while Whites have more frequent hand OA and combinations including the hand (for more detail, see Nelson AE, et al, Arthritis Rheum 2011;63(12):3843-52).
We also find differences by race and gender when assessing symptomatic OA (characterized by both radiographic changes and symptoms in a given joint site).
This figure shows that African Americans were more likely to have isolated symptomatic knee OA, while whites more frequently had hand OA (see also Nelson AE, et al, Arthritis Rheum 2013;65(2):373-7). In addition, men were more likely than women to have spine involvement alone, while women more frequently had hand OA alone, as shown below.