Osteoarthritis is the most common cause of musculoskeletal disability, affecting five million people in Britain. By far the majority of cases are managed in the community. A considerable proportion of patients self--medicate, while others are treated by a GP and the primary health care team. This book provides an overview of the condition, its causes and natural history. Diagnosis of osteoarthritis is also explained including descriptions of joint examination, monitoring of progression and assessment of disability. The book advocates a practical approach to osteoarthritis care, the mainstay of which is patient education and symptom management. It provides advice on both pharmacological and non--pharmacological pain management, the use of exercise, physiotherapy and weight loss where necessary. Topics discsussed also include: informing the patient of the disease and its prognosis; ways in which patients can adapt their home and their lifestyle to work within their physical capabilities; and surgery options.