What is OA? 

Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common type of arthritis; it’s the result of the body’s failed attempt to repair damaged joint tissues caused by abnormal stresses, injury or the normal aging process. This condition leads to the breakdown of cartilage and the underlying bone changes, resulting in pain, stiffness, swelling and bone-on-bone reduction in range of movement in the affected joint. The joints most commonly affected by OA are the knees, hips and those in the hands and spine.

What causes OA?

The cause of OA is complex and involves several factors. The development of OA depends on interplay between factors such as age, obesity, gender, occupation, physical activity level, history of joint injury and genetics. Studies suggest that hand and hip OA are highly inheritable (heritability >64 %), as well as the progression of knee OA (heritability > 69 %); and the low genetic diversity of Newfoundland and Labrador population may increase disease susceptibility.

What are the treatments for OA?

For patients with early-stage OA, being physically active is a very important part of the treatment. Appropriate types and amount of exercises can build muscles around OA-affected joints, maintain and improve joint flexibility, reduce stiffness and pain. Taking measures to lose excess weight can reduce stress on weight-bearing joints, and help ease OA symptoms. Physio, occupitional, and natural therapies are also found helpful for pain management and overall well-being improvement. Pain medications and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are available over-the-counter or by prescription, corticosteroid and hyaluronic acid injection can be administered in a doctor's office. For patients with advanced OA, unfortunately, total joint replacement (TJR) surgery is the only option. 

What do I need to do if I decide to participate in NFOAS?

If you have taken a TJR surgery (or surgeries) 1 to 8 years ago, and would like to help us with our study, please contact Maggie Liu at (709)864-6490, or email What we would like to ask from you is a phone interview about current conditions of the replaced joint(s), and 20 ml of blood from your routine fasting blood work (optional). Your contribution will help many other people who are suffering from OA, and maybe your family as well.