Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis and the leading cause of physical disability and activity limitation in developed countries. While arthritis is the most frequently diagnosed chronic medical condition in the world, osteoarthritis accounts for 40 to 60% of degenerative illnesses of the musculoskeletal system.

In Canada, over 15% of the population suffers from osteoarthritis and of this number more than two thirds are aged 60 and over. The prevalence of arthritic diseases increases with age, and its impact combined with an aging population represents one of the most crucial medical problems facing Canadians today and in the future.