Arthritis is one of the most common afflictions of the modern era. In 1994, the Centers for Disease Control reported that, by the year 2000, the prevalence of arthritis will have increased more than that of any other disease in the United States. Arthritis does not refer to one disease; rather, it is a generic term that describes more than 100 different conditions. The most common of these conditions is osteoarthritis, which affects at least sixteen million Americans, most of whom are more than sixty years old. If one considers the costs related to diagnosis, the use of pharmacological and nonpharmacological therapy as well as operative intervention, and lost productivity, arthritis is one of the most expensive and debilitating diseases in this country. Given the large number of patients and the expenses associated with treatment, it should be no surprise that there has been close scrutiny, by insurance companies and managed-care organizations, of the diagnosis and care of patients who have osteoarthritis. The costs are related not only to diagnosis, therapeutic intervention, and lost productivity but also to complications of therapy. To date, we have a limited ability to alter the natural history of the disease, and the medications that are typically prescribed have the potential for major toxicity.