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Understanding Osteoarthritis ICD-10 Classification


Osteoarthritis is a prevalent joint disorder that affects millions of people worldwide. Accurate diagnosis and coding of this condition are crucial for effective healthcare management. In this article, we will delve into the ICD-10 classification system for osteoarthritis, helping you gain a comprehensive understanding of how healthcare professionals categorize and document this condition.

What Is Osteoarthritis?

Before we dive into the ICD-10 codes, let’s briefly outline what osteoarthritis is. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease characterized by the breakdown of cartilage, leading to pain, stiffness, and reduced joint mobility. It commonly affects weight-bearing joints like the knees, hips, and spine.

The Significance of ICD-10 Codes

ICD-10, or the International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision, is a standardized coding system used by healthcare providers and insurers to document various medical conditions. These codes play a pivotal role in billing, medical record-keeping, and statistical analysis. For osteoarthritis, the ICD-10 system offers specific codes that allow for accurate diagnosis and treatment tracking.

Understanding Osteoarthritis ICD-10 Codes

ICD-10 Code for General Osteoarthritis

The primary code for osteoarthritis is M15. This code is used when the specific joint or location is not further specified. For example, if a patient has osteoarthritis, but the affected joint is not identified in the medical documentation, M15 is used.

Site-Specific Codes

When the affected joint is known, more specific codes are utilized. Here are some common site-specific codes for osteoarthritis:

1. Knee Osteoarthritis

  • M17.0 – Primary osteoarthritis of the knee
  • M17.1 – Other primary osteoarthritis of the knee
  • M17.2 – Post-traumatic osteoarthritis of the knee
  • M17.3 – Other secondary osteoarthritis of the knee

2. Hip Osteoarthritis

  • M16.0 – Primary coxarthrosis (hip osteoarthritis)
  • M16.1 – Other primary osteoarthritis of the hip
  • M16.2 – Post-traumatic coxarthrosis

Coding for Spinal Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis affecting the spine is coded differently:

  • M47.10 – Spondylosis without myelopathy or radiculopathy
  • M47.811 – Other spondylosis, occipito-atlanto-axial region
  • M47.819 – Other spondylosis, site unspecified

Documentation Specifics Matter

It’s essential for healthcare providers to accurately document the site and type of osteoarthritis in a patient’s medical record. This precision ensures that the correct ICD-10 code is assigned, leading to proper billing and treatment planning.


In conclusion, understanding the ICD-10 classification system for osteoarthritis is vital for both healthcare professionals and patients. Accurate coding allows for efficient management of this common joint condition. By familiarizing yourself with the specific codes related to osteoarthritis, you can ensure that your medical records are complete and that you receive the appropriate care.

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