Osteoarthritis (or OA) is the most prevalent of the degenerative joint diseases. It develops gradually as cartilage, the rubbery substance that covers and protects the ends of bones around a joint, breaks down and weakens. OA can afflict almost any joint, however, it’s most prevalent in the body’s weight-bearing joints, such as the hips, knees, ankles, neck, and spine. OA is also common in joints that have suffered a previous injury or if excessive stress, such as obesity, excessive weight gain, or repetitive stress is constantly impacting the area. Gradually the cartilage over a joint will stiffen and deteriorate, compromising its ability to absorb shock. Eventually OA worsens as the movement between two bones becomes rough and bones rub roughly against each other instead of gliding over one another smoothly.