Osteoarthritis is a chronic degenerative-inflammatory disease of the joints, which is accompanied by the destruction of articular cartilage, leading to dysfunction and, in the later stages, the appearance of contractures, muscle atrophy and skeletal deformities. The main clinical manifestations of osteoarthritis are chronic pain of varying intensity and limitation of joint mobility, which significantly impairs the quality of life of patients. Modern research indicates the multifactorial nature of the development of osteoarthritis. With the development of the disease, significant changes occur at all levels of the organization, including changes in molecular processes in the cartilage, accompanied by violations of its structure and functional properties, as well as the regulation of the synthesis of components of the cartilage matrix by chondrocytes. The study of the pathogenesis of osteoarthritis was the basis for the development of new drugs. The problem of the reliability of alternative modeling, efficacy, bioequivalence or toxicity of substances for humans requires their complete validation and qualitative verification using animal models. The purpose of this review is a comparative description of in vivo and in vitro experimental models used to study the pathological processes of osteoarthritis, and an analysis of the limits of their applicability.