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Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, affecting 8 million people in the UK. It can affect different joints in the body, most commonly the hand, knee, hip and spine.

As the condition develops there is alteration and damage to various tissues in the joint including cartilage (the smooth coating on the ends of bones), soft tissues and bone, which in many individuals give rise to pain, stiffness, and difficulty with joint function. The pain and physical difficulties caused by osteoarthritis can affect mobility, social life and mental health, and hence quality of life.

Osteoarthritis is currently diagnosed by particular symptoms and clinical examination, and, for more established disease, by changes evident from X-rays. There are currently no proven blood or other tests that can be routinely used for diagnosis.