All about arthritis

All about arthritis

Arthritis is a range of conditions that affect bones, muscles and joints. There are over 100 different types of arthritis, most of which lead to joint pain and stiffness. Not all joint pain is arthritis, but it’s worth talking to your doctor if you have pain and stiffness that:

  • starts for no clear reason
  • lasts for more than a few days
  • comes on with swelling, redness and warmth in your joints.

Eating well with arthritis

While there is no miracle diet for arthritis, a healthy balanced diet is one of the best ways to look after your body. The exception is a type of arthritis called gout, where certain foods appear to trigger attacks. Follow the link to our Appetite for Life factsheet on managing gout for more information.

Eating well to reduce your symptoms means:

  • choosing a wide variety of foods from each of the five food groups each day – grain foods, vegetables, fruit, dairy products and lean meats and meat alternatives
  • choosing foods high in calcium such as milk, yoghurt, cheese, leafy green vegetables, and fish where you eat the bones (such as sardines).
  • eating foods high in healthy fats, such as avocado, oily fish, nuts, olive oil, and eggs.
  • drinking plenty of water each day.

For more information about eating well with arthritis, check out the Arthritis fact sheet from the Appetite for Life.

Get moving

Being active and staying fit can help you get the most out of life, whatever your age. Staying active can keep your joints moving and your muscles strong.

Try to be active for 30 minutes each day in ways that incorporate fitness, strength, balance and flexibility. Listen to your body and your joints, and if exercise is causing you pain then talk to your healthcare team about how you can protect your joints while still being active.

Practical tips

If arthritis is making it hard for you to shop for or prepare food, look for easy ways of doing things:

  • use larger stronger joints for carrying things – for example, carrying bags over your shoulder rather than in your hands
  • look for gadgets and packaging that can make it easier to cook if your hands and wrists are affected by arthritis. For example you may find ring-pull tins easier than using a can opener
  • do your shopping and meal preparation at a time of day when you usually feel best
  • save the effort of peeling and chopping by looking for pre-cut vegetables. Many shops have both fresh and frozen pre-cut varieties available

For more information and support about managing your arthritis, visit Arthritis Australia.