It is not possible to prevent osteoarthritis altogether. However, you may be able to minimise your risk of developing it by avoiding injury and staying as healthy as possible. Also maintaining yourself in a healthy weight range will reduce the burden of osteoarthritis if developed in a weight bearing joint.
Look after your joints
Do some regular exercise, but try not to put too much stress on your joints, particularly your hips, knees and the joints in your hands.
Try to maintain good posture at all times and avoid staying in the same position for too long. If you work at a desk, make sure your chair is at the correct height, and take regular breaks to move around.
Keep your muscles strong
Your muscles help support your joints, so having strong muscles will help your joints stay strong too.
Try to undertake appropriate amounts of physical activity. It is recommended to exercise for at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (for example, cycling or fast walking) every week to build up your muscle strength. Do muscle-strengthening exercises at least two days each week. If you are over 65, you should aim for physical activity for 30 minutes most days. Try to be active in as many ways as possible, with exercises to boost your fitness, strength, balance and flexibility.
Exercise should be fun, so do what you enjoy, but try not to overload the joints.
Lose weight if you are overweight or obese
Being overweight or obese can make your osteoarthritis worse.
Last reviewed: June 2018