Many factors influence your chances of getting OA. There are some things you can't change, such as your family history and your age. We also can't change how our bodies build up and break down bone. But if you have injured a joint, or have strained it repeatedly over a long period of time, your risk for OA is higher.

Many people would think running could be associated with OA. But studies of joggers have concluded that recreational running does not increase the risk of developing OA. However, professional baseball pitchers may have a higher risk of OA of the elbow and shoulder.

The risk of OA in the knee is increased by weak muscles, which can make the joint unstable. If a joint is abnormal due to previous injury or inherited factors, even low-impact exercise can speed up the process that causes OA.

Having diabetes or high blood sugar also increases the risk of OA. It's believed that high levels of sugar in the blood may cause changes in the cartilage.

One risk factor for OA that we can do something about is our weight. People who are overweight put excess strain on their knee joints especially, but also their hip joints (see "Healthy weight and exercise").

If you're concerned that you could be at risk for OA, speak to your doctor.