Complications of osteoarthritis

Most people find osteoarthritis to be a nuisance that eventually becomes significant enough to impact their daily activities, but sometimes there are more serious complications.

Possible complications of osteoarthritis include:

  • Rapid, complete breakdown of cartilage resulting in loose tissue material in the joint (chondrolysis).
  • Bone death (osteonecrosis).
  • Stress fractures (hairline crack in the bone that develops gradually in response to repeated injury or stress).
  • Bleeding inside the joint.
  • Infection in the joint.
  • Deterioration or rupture of the tendons and ligaments around the joint, leading to loss of stability.
  • Pinched nerve (in osteoarthritis of the spine).

Last Updated: April 17, 2009

Author: Shannon Erstad, MBA/MPH

Medical Review: Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine & Richa Dhawan, MD - Rheumatology

related physicians

related services

Bon Secours International| Sisters of Bon Secours USA| Bon Secours Health System

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. Privacy Policy. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

© 1995-2010 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.