Osteoarthritis is the most common disease of joints caused by degradation of articular cartilage and subchondral bone. It is classified as primary form with unknown cause and as secondary form with known etiology. Genetic and epigenetic factors interact with environmental factors and contribute to the development of primary osteoarthritis. Thus far, many polymorphisms associated with osteoarthritis have been identified and recent studies also indicate the involvement of epigenetic factors (e.g., telomere shortening) in the initiation of this disorder. Accelerated shortening of telomeres was detected in osteoarthritis and other age-related diseases. Studies revealed that telomere length is severely reduced in blood leukocytes and chondrocytes of patients with osteoarthritis, and this may contribute to the initiation and development of osteoarthritis, whose major cause is still unknown.