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 is a very common condition that affects people of all ages and from all walks of life, including children.

There are many different types of arthritis that cause a wide range of symptoms which vary depending on the type of arthritis you have. Common arthritic symptoms include:

  • joint pain, tenderness and stiffness
  • inflammation in and around the joints
  • restricted movement of the joints
  • warmth and redness of the skin over the affected joint
  • weakness and muscle wasting.

Check your symptoms with healthdirect’s Symptom Checker to get advice on when to seek medical attention.

Two of the most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. It occurs when the cartilage (connective tissue) between the bones gradually wastes away, leading to painful rubbing of bone on bone in the joints.

Rheumatoid arthritis is a more severe but less common form of arthritis than osteoarthritis. It occurs when the body's immune system attacks and destroys the tissue in the affected joints, causing pain and swelling to occur.

Are you a carer or helping someone out?

Carers are everyday people who provide unpaid and ongoing care and support to someone they know who has a disability, mental illness, drug or alcohol dependency, chronic condition, terminal illness or who is frail.

Support for carers

Learn more about practical, financial and emotional support and services that are available for carers. For carers services in your state or territory visit Carers Australia.

Personal story: Rheumatoid arthritis

Being diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis can be both emotionally and practically challenging. Listening to others who have experienced similar situations is often re-assuring and can be helpful for you, your loved ones or when preparing questions for your doctor or a specialist.

Watch this video about a patient's experience after being diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis.

Read the related video transcript >

More information about this video >

Video Copyright: ©2013 University of Oxford. Used under licence from DIPEx. All rights reserved.

Recommended links

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Found 604 results

Arthritis types -

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

Read more on myDr website

Arthritis and nutrition -

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

CCP - Lab Tests Online AU

To help diagnose rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and differentiate it from other types of arthritis; sometimes to help evaluate the prognosis of a patient with RA

Read more on Lab Tests Online website

Arthritis - Lab Tests Online AU

Arthritis is a disease characterised by inflammation and subsequent cartilage damage in one or more joints. This inflammation may be the bodys response to an injury (such as a fracture), an infection (either viral or bacterial), or gradual wear and tear on the joints. Arthritis is also common in the skin disease, psoriasis as well as in autoimmune disorders, such as lupusand rheumatoid arthritis. Symptoms include joint pain, swelling, stiffness and redness that last more than six weeks.

Read more on Lab Tests Online website

Arthritis Australia

Arthritis is a very common condition in Australia affecting people of all ages and from all walks of life. Its symptoms often have a big impact on the daily lives of people, and although arthritis can be difficult to live with, there are many simple measures that can help anyone manage their symptoms. Arthritis Australia provides support and information to people with arthritis as well as their families and friends.

Read more on Arthritis Australia 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

What is Arthritis MHCS

Read more on Multicultural Health Communication Service website

Arthritis and Physical Activity | myVMC

Exercise therapy has been largely under-prescribed by GPs up until recently. For many years, it was suggested that patients with arthritis should avoid exercise, as it was thought to further inflame joints. But recently there has been a change in opinion, with many scientific studies suggesting that regular physical activity can reduce joint pain and possibly increase mobility, making it easier to perform everyday tasks.

Read more on myVMC – Virtual Medical Centre website

Kineret Solution for injection -

Kineret Solution for injection - Consumer Medicines Information leaflets of prescription and over-the-counter medicines

Read more on myDr – Consumer Medicine Information 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

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