Arthritis is defined as a group of medical conditions affecting joints and nearby structures. There are 3 main types: osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and gout. 1 Here’s the truth behind four common myths about arthritis.

Myth 1 – Arthritis is an inevitable part of getting older

Yes, arthritis is more likely the older you are. But in fact, 60% of the 4 million Australians with arthritis are of working age. And while there’s no cure, early treatment can delay symptoms appearing. Or stop your arthritis from getting worse if you already have symptoms.

Myth 2 – Warm and dry climate is better for arthritis

You may experience a temporary improvement in symptoms if you move to a warm and dry climate. But medical research shows that your joints adapt and your symptoms tend to go back to what they were in the long run.

Myth 3 – Knuckle joint cracking causes arthritis

The good news if you crack your knuckle joints or know someone who does is that studies show it doesn’t increase your risk of developing arthritis. The cracking sound is simply believed to be pressure changes in your joint’s lubricant (synovial) fluid causing the collapse of gas bubbles in the fluid. It doesn’t damage the joints.

Myth 4 – X-rays reveal the truth about arthritis

X-rays may often be an unreliable guide for arthritis symptoms. For example, you may have a perfectly normal x-ray, but feel lots of pain – or have severe osteoarthritic changes on your x-ray, but not necessarily feel lots of pain. The most effective way to diagnose arthritis is based on whether you have symptoms (pain, stiffness, weakness and negative impact on your ability to do things), as well as other tests such as a blood test for rheumatoid arthritis or for gout, finding uric acid crystals in fluid taken from your joint.

For more information: See your GP, visit Arthritis Australia online or call them on 1800 111 101

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