Prioritising OA: natural history
It is a myth that osteoarthritis inevitably gets worse. We now know that various patterns for patient symptoms exist, including a group who has mild, non-progressive symptoms. Flares, which are often characterised to patients as a worsening of their symptoms (such as pain), are common and can last for a variable length of time. Although pain and disability can be, or become, significant for some patients, joint replacement is not the eventual outcome for most patients. However, if joint replacement is needed, it has good outcomes for most patients.
References and Further Reading
Arthritis Research UK 2013. OA in general practice. http://www.arthritisresearchuk.org/arthritis-information/data-and-statistics/~/media/EFAEFCE432734F3AA5FB1C64329E02D1.ashx
Nicholls et al. Pain trajectory groups in persons with, or at high risk of, knee osteoarthritis: findings from the Knee Clinical Assessment Study and the Osteoarthritis Initiative. Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2014: 22(12):2041-51. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4256061/