Osteoarthritis is amongst the major causes of disability worldwide, but no medications that can slow or stop progression of this disorder have been identified. Recent evidence suggests roles for a variety of members of the nuclear receptor family of ligand-activated transcription factors in various forms of osteoarthritis. Since nuclear receptors are amongst the major classes of drug targets, these studies suggest that modulators of nuclear receptor activity might provide novel strategies to treat osteoarthritis. This review focuses on recent advances in our understanding of the role of nuclear receptors in osteoarthritis onset and progression, as well as their therapeutic implications. Future studies should continue to examine the possible roles of additional nuclear receptors in the pathophysiology of different types of osteoarthritis.