Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem?

Call 1800 022 222

healthdirect Australia

This is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

Is it an emergency? Dial 000

If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

Using a walking stick or cane to assist with walking can help to control arthritis symptoms.

Using a walking stick or cane to assist with walking can help to control arthritis symptoms.
beginning of content

Arthritis

Arthritis is a medical condition that damages the body’s joints, causing discomfort and pain. It can range from mild to severe, and can affect people of all ages. Although there is no cure for arthritis, there are ways to manage the condition.

An overview of arthritis

Arthritis is not one disease alone, but an umbrella term for more than 100 conditions that affect the joints of the body. Joints are points where two or more bones meet, such as in the wrist, knuckles, hips, knees and ankles.

The three most common types of arthritis found in Australians are:

Other types of arthritis include:

Symptoms of arthritis

The symptoms of arthritis vary from person to person. But if you have arthritis, you will almost certainly have symptoms relating to your joints, such as:

  • pain
  • swelling
  • redness and heat
  • stiffness or reduced movement.

Some people also get other problems outside their joints. Other common symptoms include:

  • tiredness
  • weight loss
  • skin problems
  • feeling unwell.

Diagnosing arthritis

If you have any symptoms of arthritis, it is important you see your doctor to get a diagnosis and start treatment. Without treatment, the condition may get worse and cause long-term damage.

Some types of arthritis can be difficult to diagnose, so it may take a few visits and tests to get a definite diagnosis. Your doctor may also need to refer you to a rheumatologist, who specialises in conditions that affect the joints.

Treating arthritis

For many types of arthritis, there are treatments available that can help control symptoms and prevent damage to the joints.

The most appropriate treatment will depend on which type of arthritis you have, which joints are affected, and the symptoms you have.

Treatment might include:

  • medications, such as pain-killers, anti-inflammatory drugs or disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (used for inflammatory forms of arthritis such as rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis and juvenile idiopathic arthritis)
  • pain management techniques, such as meditation.

In severe cases, surgery may be needed to replace or repair damaged joints.

Living with arthritis

There are many things you can do to help manage arthritis so you can meet the demands of daily life.

Among the most important things are to:

Additional information about arthritis

For more information on arthritis, how to manage it, and to learn about the support available, you can contact Arthritis Australia on 1800 011 041.

Last reviewed: February 2017

Recommended links

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Found 13 results

Arthritis types - myDr.com.au

Find out about the different types of arthritis, including the most common types - osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and gout.

Read more on myDr website

Arthritis | Jean Hailes

Arthritis mostly affects joints, yet many people think of it as a bone condition. Find out how the treatments of osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and gout might increase your risk of osteoporosis and what you can do if you are worried about this.

Read more on Jean Hailes for Women's Health website

Arcoxia Tablets - myDr.com.au

Arcoxia Tablets - Consumer Medicines Information leaflets of prescription and over-the-counter medicines

Read more on myDr – Consumer Medicine Information website

Feet and Arthritis (formerly Arthritis Victoria) - MOVE

MOVE muscle, bone & joint health (formerly Arthritis and Osteoporosis Victoria) is a national charity dedicated to improve the quality of life of people with, or at risk of developing, muscle, bone and joint conditions.

Read more on MOVE muscle, bone & joint health website

Arthritis and nutrition - myDr.com.au

Researchers have been exploring potential links between diet and arthritis for many decades. However, there is little evidence to indicate that taking expensive food supplements or eating elaborate diets are any better than eating well-balanced meals.

Read more on myDr website

What is arthritis

Arthritis is often referred to as a single disease. In fact, it is an umbrella term for more than 100 medical conditions that affect the musculoskeletal system, specifically joints where two or more bones meet.

Read more on Arthritis Australia website

Arthritis (formerly Arthritis Victoria) - MOVE

MOVE muscle, bone & joint health (formerly Arthritis and Osteoporosis Victoria) is a national charity dedicated to improve the quality of life of people with, or at risk of developing, muscle, bone and joint conditions.

Read more on MOVE muscle, bone & joint health website

Diet - MOVE

No special diet or ‘miracle food’ can cure arthritis, but some conditions may be helped by dietary changes.

Read more on MOVE muscle, bone & joint health website

Bone health | Jean Hailes

Nearly all bone growth is done in your childhood and teenage years. From the age of our mid thirties we start to lose more bone than grow bone. The following pages discuss what happens when our bones lose density, what is osteopenia and osteoporosis, what

Read more on Jean Hailes for Women's Health website

Corticosteroid injections - myDr.com.au

Corticosteroid injections can reduce inflammation, relieving pain and improving function and mobility. Find out when they are used and the risks involved.

Read more on myDr website

Check your symptoms Find a health service

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice and information you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo
Feedback