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Patient with osteoarthritis


Snap. Crackle. Pop. If this describes your knees instead of your breakfast cereal, it might be time to pay attention.

Osteoarthritis could be the culprit. The most common type of arthritis, osteoarthritis is a joint disease that gets worse over time and affects more than 80% of adults, age 55 and older. It can make opening jars, climbing stairs or just getting up out of bed in the morning painful. Stiff shoulders, sore hips, achy backs, crunchy knees and fingers that just don’t work the way they used to are all telltale signs.

At Cleveland Clinic, we can help you gain a better understanding of this lifelong condition and help you manage it. Protecting your joints, reducing your pain and helping you enjoy a full and active life is our number one goal.

Why Choose Cleveland Clinic for Osteoarthritis Care?

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Demonstrated expertise:

Cleveland Clinic is a national leader in bone, muscle and joint care. Our specialists are experts at treating all types of bone, joint and connective tissue disorders — from the routine to the complex. They’re highly skilled in treating painful joints caused by all types of arthritis, including osteoarthritis. Meet our team.

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Trusted experts:

Our surgeons perform more than 7,000 hip, shoulder, knee, and elbow, wrist and finger joint replacements each year— more than most hospitals in the U.S.

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Patient-centered care:

We take the time to listen to your concerns and answer any questions you have about your condition. It’s important to us that you fully understand what you’re facing with osteoarthritis and the treatment options that are available.

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Collaborative care:

We work as a team to give you comprehensive and personalized care. Our team includes orthopaedic medicine specialists, surgeons and oncologists, rheumatologists, podiatrists, sports medicine physicians, musculoskeletal radiologists, physician assistants, nurse practitioners and physical therapists.

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Innovation and research:

We’re dedicated to giving you the most innovative joint care through our ongoing clinical research. Our orthopaedic surgeons specialize in using cutting-edge, minimally invasive joint replacement methods, including robotic-assisted procedures. Our specialists have developed new techniques and technologies that are used worldwide for a range of orthopaedic conditions.

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Virtual visits:

Appointments don’t always have to be in person — especially first appointments. We also offer virtual visits, so you can meet with your provider online. All you need is a smartphone, tablet or computer.

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National recognition:

Cleveland Clinic is a trusted healthcare leader. We're recognized in the U.S. and throughout the world for our expertise and care.

Osteoarthritis Diagnosis at Cleveland Clinic

If joint pain is taking a toll on your daily life, we can help you figure out the cause and set you down the path for treatment. At your appointment, your provider will start by asking some questions. They’ll want to know about your medical history and if your family members have a history of joint pain. They’ll also ask you to describe the symptoms you’re having, how bad they are and how they’re affecting your day-to-day life. Your provider will then examine your joints. They may also:

  • Order an X-ray to make sure there’s no other reason for the pain.
  • Order an MRI if they think you might have a cartilage or ligament.
  • Drain the fluid from your joint with a small needle (aspiration) and test the fluid to look for other types of arthritis, such as gout.


Our healthcare providers see patients at convenient locations throughout Northeast Ohio, Florida and London.

Osteoarthritis Treatment at Cleveland Clinic

Osteoarthritis is a chronic condition that never fully goes away, but mild symptoms can be managed very well. The type of treatment depends on many things, including your age, overall health, your job and hobbies and how bad the condition is. Your provider may suggest:

  • Medications: Options can include topical pain medicines and over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications, like ibuprofen (Advil® or Motrin®).
  • Exercise: Swimming, water aerobics, yoga, short walks and low-impact strength training can help improve your flexibility, joint stability and muscle strength.
  • Hot and cold therapy: Switching between a heating pad and cold packs on your joints can help relieve stiffness.
  • Physical and occupational therapy: Stretching and range of motion exercises, as well as tips on how to avoid joint pain in your daily activities can help keep you flexible and build strength.
  • Weight control: Obesity is a known risk factor for osteoarthritis. Managing your weight can reduce the stress on your joints and lessen pain and inflammation.
  • Healthy diet: Eating a healthy diet, managing diabetes (if you have it) and keeping your cholesterol in check will help with joint pain.
  • Alternative medicine: Nutritional supplements, vitamins, minerals and other natural or holistic therapies are always an option. This can also include acupuncture, acupressure and meditation.
  • Supportive devices: Shoe inserts, braces, a cane or a walker can help take pressure off sore joints.
  • Intra-articular injection therapy: A shot (steroid) directly into your joint can target the pain. If steroids don’t work, hyaluronic acid gel or platelet rich plasma (PRP) injections are options.
  • Surgery: When the pain is so great and none of the other options work, surgery may be necessary. Our orthopaedic surgeons use minimally invasive joint replacement techniques, including robotic-assisted procedures, wherever possible and have had excellent results getting the affected joints to move better and reduce pain.

Taking the Next Step

Pain from osteoarthritis usually builds slowly over months or years. Many people live with the pain for a long time before they ask for help. But there’s no reason to wait. The sooner you call your healthcare provider and start managing your joint pain, the sooner you’ll be back on your way to living the life you enjoy.

Getting an appointment with Cleveland Clinic osteoarthritis experts is easy. We’re here to help you get the care you need.


Getting an appointment with Cleveland Clinic osteoarthritis experts is easy. We’re here to help you get the care you need.

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