Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

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

beginning of content

How will I know if I have arthritis?

Blog post | 26 Oct 2023

Not sure if you’ve got arthritis, an injury or just feeling sore from doing a new exercise?

In the early stages of arthritis, you may have pain, stiffness or swelling of your joints, such as in your wrists, knuckles, hips, knees or ankles. You may also have redness and warmth in your joints. If these symptoms come on for no apparent reason and they last more than a few days, it could be a sign of arthritis.

Never ignore the early signs of arthritis. If you experience any of these symptoms, you should see your doctor. Getting an early arthritis diagnosis may help to reduce symptoms and may even prevent joint damage.

To mark World Arthritis Day, here are answers to some more commonly asked questions about arthritis.

What are the types of arthritis?

There are more than 100 types of arthritis. The most common types that are found in Australians are:

How common is arthritis?

Arthritis is one of the most common chronic conditions in people in Australia. One in 7 Australians have a form of it.

Arthritis is more common in females and older people, but anyone can get arthritis.

What does arthritis pain feel like?

If you have pain due to inflammation, you may have an aching or throbbing feeling.

Everyone experiences pain differently. Pain can also differ depending on the type of arthritis you have and how you manage it.

How do you stop an arthritis attack?

You can’t really stop an arthritis attack. An arthritis attack, known as an arthritis flare, is when you experience a worsening of your symptoms including more intense pain.

According to Arthritis Australia, you don’t always get warning that a flare is about to come on, but it can be triggered by:

  • doing too much
  • stress
  • illness or infections
  • not taking your medication as prescribed
  • changes to your treatment
  • no apparent reason

It can be normal to experience a flare. Make sure you have a flare plan in place to help manage it.

What can you do to prevent arthritis in fingers?

Not all arthritis risk factors can be avoided, such as having a family member who has arthritis. Depending on the type of arthritis, you can reduce some of the risk factors that cause arthritis, such as:

  • never smoking, or quitting if you currently do smoke
  • maintaining a healthy weight
  • avoiding joint injuries or overuse
  • taking medication

For more information and resources:

Want more like this?

For health and wellbeing news you can use, go to the healthdirect blog.

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice 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 and advice

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

Healthdirect Australia acknowledges the Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and their continuing connection to land, sea and community. We pay our respects to the Traditional Owners and to Elders both past and present.