Osteoarthritis of the knee is a complex peripheral joint disorder with multiple risk factors. The molecular basis of osteoarthritis has been generally accepted; however, the exact pathogenesis is still not known. Management of patients with osteoarthritis involves a comprehensive history, thorough physical examination and appropriate radiological investigation. The relative slow progress in the disease allows a stepwise algorithmic approach in treatment. Non-surgical treatment involves patient education, lifestyle modification and the use of orthotic devises. These can be achieved in the community. Surgical options include joint sparing procedures such as arthroscopyando osteotomy or joint-replacing procedures. Joint-replacing procedures can be isolated to a single compartment such as patellofemoral arthroplasty or unicompartmental knee replacement or total knee arthroplasty. The key to a successful long-term outcome is optimal patient selection, preoperative counselling and good surgical technique.