Treatment guidelines for osteoarthritis have stressed the need for research on clinical predictors of response to different treatments. However, identifying such clinical predictors of response is less easy than it seems, and there is not a given classification of osteoarthritis subpopulations. This review article highlights the key methodical issues when analyzing and designing clinical studies to detect important subgroups with respect to treatment effect. In addition, we discuss the main osteoarthritis subpopulations and give examples of how specific treatment effects in these subpopulations have been assessed.