The disabling and painful disease osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis. Strong evidence suggests that a subpopulation of OA patients has a form of OA driven by inflammation. Consequently, understanding when inflammation is the driver of disease progression and which OA patients might benefit from anti-inflammatory treatment is a topic of intense research in the OA field. We have reviewed the current literature on OA, with an emphasis on inflammation in OA, biochemical markers of structural damage, and anti-inflammatory treatments for OA. The literature suggests that the OA patient population is diverse, consisting of several subpopulations, including one associated with inflammation. This inflammatory subpopulation may be identified by a combination of novel serological inflammatory biomarkers. Preliminary evidence from small clinical studies suggests that this subpopulation may benefit from anti-inflammatory treatment currently reserved for other inflammatory arthritides.
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