The patterns and prevalence of hand osteoarthritis in a population of disabled older women: The women's health and aging study

R. Hirsch, J. M. Guralnik, S. M. Ling, Linda P Fried, M. C. Hochberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Summary. Objective: To describe the prevalence of hand osteoarthritis (OA) by joint site, joint count and severity in a representative population of older disabled women. Methods: 1002 moderately to severely disabled women aged ≥65 years were selected from a representative population of community-dwelling women. Hand OA was established using a reproducible algorithm based on self-reported pain, standardized physical examinations, hand photographs, and physician questionnaire responses. OA was categorized as either symptomatic disease, intermittently symptomatic/asymptomatic disease, possible disease, or no disease. Results: Symptomatic OA, requiring the presence of hand pain on most days for at least 1 month, occurred in approximately 23% of disabled older women in each age group, and most reported pain in the moderate to severe range. The prevalence of intermittently symptomatic/asymptomatic OA was higher with increasing age. Finally, the most commonly affected hand OA sites were the distal interphalangeal (DIP) and the first carpometacarpal (CMC1) joint groups. Conclusion: These findings demonstrate the very high prevalence of clinical hand OA in disabled older women and show that a large proportion of hand OA results in substantial symptoms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalOsteoarthritis and Cartilage
Issue numberSUPPL. A
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1995



  • Disabled older women
  • Hand osteoarthritis
  • Prevalence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rheumatology
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Biomedical Engineering

Cite this