Osteoarthritis is the most common version of arthritis and affects millions of people across the world, including an estimated 30 million people in the United States alone. The condition is characterized by the slow breakdown of cartilage, which acts as a buffer between joints. As the cartilage degenerates, joints can become swollen, stiff, and painful, and the condition tends to worsen with time. Osteoarthritis can affect any joint in the body but is most often found in the knees, hips, hands, and spine. Traditionally, osteoarthritis is referred to as a condition of wear and tear – in other words, joints that are used most often or most heavily are more likely to experience a steady breakdown of cartilage, eventually leading to osteoarthritis. There are some known risk factors for osteoarthritis – for instance, it more commonly affects older adults, and women are more likely to develop it than men. Similarly, previous joint injuries and bone deformities also increase the chances of developing the condition.