This narrative review discusses the potential of prevention of OA in different stages of the disease. The theoretical background for primary prevention (i.e. prevention of occurrence of definite structural or clinical OA in subjects free of the disease) and secondary prevention (i.e. prevention of progression of the disease in subjects with pre-clinical pathological changes to the joint) is provided and evidence for effective strategies is discussed. Since direct evidence for the prevention of OA development and progression is scarce, indirect evidence enhancing our current knowledge on the potential of OA prevention is additionally discussed. Also, implications of preventive strategies for study design and public health are considered. Prevention of OA has great potential, but as deliberated in the current review, there are still large gaps in our current knowledge and the implications of preventive strategies for the development and progression of OA require consideration.