Osteoarthritis often occurs with other conditions. Some conditions contribute to arthritis, some develop from it, and some develop alongside it due to shared risk factors.

Osteoarthritis is a common cause of joint pain, especially in aging adults. It often develops in your:

  • knees
  • hips
  • spine
  • hands

Some conditions, like previous joint injuries or obesity, can make you more prone to developing osteoarthritis. Other conditions like heart disease and depression often occur together with osteoarthritis, likely due to shared risk factors. In some cases, osteoarthritis may lead to the development of other conditions.

Read on to learn more about what other conditions are related to osteoarthritis.

Having one of the following conditions may make you more prone to developing osteoarthritis.

Previous joint injuries

Osteoarthritis linked to previous joint injuries is called post-traumatic osteoarthritis. It typically develops at a younger age than traditional osteoarthritis and is highly associated with sports injuries.

Research indicates post-traumatic osteoarthritis makes up about 10–12% of osteoarthritis cases. It’s particularly common in the ankle, where it may make up nearly 80% of osteoarthritis diagnoses.

Obesity

Having obesity puts more stress on the joints in your back and lower body. Obesity is one of the top risk factors for the development and progression of osteoarthritis.

Genetic structural differences

Everybody’s anatomy is different. You may be born with specific structural differences that put more stress on a particular joint and make you more prone to developing osteoarthritis.

For example, research links the development of knee osteoarthritis to greater supination of the foot. Supination is a measure of how far the sole of your foot leans outwardly.

In general, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that people with a family history of osteoarthritis are at a greater risk of developing it than people without a family history.

Some conditions often co-occur with osteoarthritis without directly causing it.

Heart disease

People with osteoarthritis seem to be at an increased risk of heart disease. The link may be, in part, to chronic joint pain acting as a barrier to exercise for some people. It may also partially be due to obesity as a shared risk factor.

In a 2023 study based on medical claim data from South Korea, researchers found that people with knee osteoarthritis had a:

  • 26% higher risk of having heart disease
  • 20% higher risk of heart attack
  • 29% higher risk of stroke

Metabolic syndrome

Metabolic syndrome is a group of five risk factors that often occur together and increase your risk of heart disease. They include:

Metabolic syndrome is highly associated with obesity, which is one of the top risk factors for osteoarthritis.

Depression and anxiety

Research suggests that people with osteoarthritis are more likely to have depression. In people with osteoarthritis, depression has been linked to:

  • high levels of pain
  • poor level of function
  • slow walking gait
  • high number of osteoarthritis sites

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)

COPD is a lung disease that causes restricted airflow and problems with your breathing. Both COPD and osteoarthritis are linked to inflammation throughout your body and reduced physical activity. Research suggests that osteoarthritis is common among people with COPD.

In a 2018 review of 14 studies, researchers reported osteoarthritis in around 35.5% of people with COPD.

In a 2019 study, researchers from the University of Calgary reported depression, COPD, and high blood pressure as the three top coexisting conditions with osteoarthritis.

Stomach ulcer

Stomach ulcers are often caused by high use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. People often use these drugs to treat osteoarthritis.

In a different 2019 study, researchers reported that stomach ulcers occurred more than twice as often in people with osteoarthritis than in the larger population.

Osteoarthritis can lead to the following complications.

Sleep disorders

It’s common for people with osteoarthritis to experience sleep disturbances. Sleep disorders linked to osteoarthritis include:

  • insomnia
  • obstructive sleep apnea
  • restless leg syndrome

The link may work both ways. Research also suggests that sleep disorders may contribute to the development of osteoarthritis.

Nerve root compression

Spinal osteoarthritis may cause swelling that compresses the roots of nerves that branch off your spinal cord. Known as radiculopathy, this may cause symptoms such as:

  • leg weakness
  • shooting pain down the back of your leg
  • tingling
  • numbness

Fractures

Research is mixed as to whether osteoarthritis increases your risk of bone fractures.

A large UK study found a significant link between osteoarthritis and fracture risk. And a 2024 study found that spinal osteoarthritis increases the risk of spinal fractures.

However, a 2023 study found that while osteoarthritis increased the risk of recurrent falls, it did not increase the risk of fractures.

Scientists have identified more than 100 types of arthritis. Osteoarthritis can cause similar symptoms as many other forms of arthritis or other musculoskeletal problems, including:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis: Rheumatoid arthritis occurs when your immune system attacks healthy cells in your joints.
  • Psoriatic arthritis: Psoriatic arthritis develops in some people with psoriasis, an autoimmune condition that causes scaly rashes.
  • Bursitis: Bursitis is inflammation of a fluid-filled sac called a bursa that surrounds your joint.
  • Tendonitis: Tendonitis is inflammation of a tendon that connects one of your muscles to bone.
  • Gout: Gout causes flare-ups of joint pain due to the buildup of uric acid crystals in your body. It most often affects your big toe.
  • Avascular necrosis: Avascular necrosis is the death of bone tissue due to the temporary or permanent loss of its blood supply.

Osteoarthritis vs. osteoporosis

With similar names, it’s easy to confuse osteoarthritis and osteoporosis. The two conditions also often occur together and share some risk factors. Still, they are very distinct conditions.

Osteoarthritis is an issue with your joints (where bones meet). Osteoporosis is an issue with the bones themselves — specifically, a loss of bone density.

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It’s a good idea to see a doctor if you have persistent arthritis symptoms so that they can confirm the diagnosis and recommend treatment. Symptoms may include:

  • joint tenderness
  • pain and stiffness when your joint is immobile
  • limited range of motion
  • crackling or grating sound coming from your joint

Some conditions like obesity or previous joint injuries make you more prone to developing osteoarthritis. Other conditions like heart disease and depression often coexist with osteoarthritis but don’t necessarily cause it.

It’s essential to visit your doctor if you have symptoms of osteoarthritis to get an early diagnosis and begin treatment.