nly old people get arthritis, right? Wrong. Studies show that about 8 in 100,000 adults between ages 18 and 34 have been diagnosed with arthritis. Unlike popular belief, your life does not have to come to a grinding halt just because of your grinding joints. In this article, we’ll cover:

  1. What arthritis is
  2. The causes of arthritis
  3. How to prevent arthritis

What is arthritis?

Arthritis is known as a joint discomfort prevalent in the most active joints in one’s body. But what is it actually? What makes it worse? And how many types of arthritis are there?

a small dog turns his head to the side looking at the camera
What is it and why does it happen?

Arthritis occurs where two bones meet at a joint and the area becomes red and swollen. Causing pain, swelling, or stiffness in one or more joints, pain and symptoms vary with personal characteristics. We’ll cover the two most common types of arthritis, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Osteoarthritis is a chronic illness that is common in the knees, hips, and spine. Narrowing the space of the joint by slowly destroying the cartilage around the bones, osteoarthritis is more prevalent in people as they age or with younger people if suffering from an injury or overuse.

Rheumatoid arthritis is another common illness in older people because of the inflammatory characteristic of the disease. It usually affects all of the joints and can cause harm to organs. Caused by the body’s immune system attacking its own host, the tissue of joints diminishes over time.

What Causes Arthritis?

Both fixed and adjustable factors can increase and decrease your chances of developing arthritis.

A big brown and white cat lays on the pavement with its paw up in the air while looking at the camera
Fortunately for some and unfortunately for most, perpetual factors like genetics and time both affect your risk for arthritis.


Luckily for you 20-something-year-olds, you are most likely to contract arthritis at an older age. Some factors like injury and heredity can affect your risk. Usually, arthritis is common between the ages of forty and sixty.


Girls, I'm sorry. Women are at more risk of arthritis than men (I know it's not fair). Because women’s bodies are designed to give birth, their hips are wider than their knees. Their joints are also more elastic than male joints and this can result in uneven stress between joints because of their alignment.


Certain genes can affect your risk of developing arthritis at an early age, what type of arthritis you develop, or if you get arthritis at all.


Excess weight can put more pressure and weight on your joints, causing you to be at a higher risk of developing arthritis.

Injury or Infection

If a joint has been damaged or if an infection has started, joints can be damaged or infection can attack, resulting in arthritis. 

Routine Habits

Habits or work that requires harsh movements like bending down or squatting can cause knee arthritis. Repetitive motions and overuse are causes of osteoarthritis.

A study between 2009 and 2015 that involved 18-29 year-olds that were diagnosed with arthritis studied the correlation between demographic characteristics, social role participation restrictions, and health variables. It found that more respondents with arthritis were female, married, and had social participation restrictions as well as fair or poor health and functional limitations. Finding that arthritis had a significant correlation with lower education levels, the study concluded that young adults with arthritis may have entered the workforce earlier than those that do not have arthritis.

So, can you get arthritis in your 20s?

The short answer is yes. While it may be unreasonable to start stressing so early about your body, there are multiple cases of arthritis in young adults. If it comes down to it, you can still live an enjoyable and painless life with your diagnosis.

While you may fear that your job cannot depend on you any more because of your arthritis, you can’t do the activities or exercises you once did, or your love life will falter, these are just untrue. With modern medicine, treatments, and straight facts, you can live a good life with arthritis. Here are some tips for dealing with arthritis in your 20s.


Any type of exercise is great for your body. Less strenuous exercises and stretches just may be your best friend if you are in any type of pain while moving. Talk to your doctor to find out which movements are best for you. 


Depending on the activity level of your job, you may be concerned about losing it because of your condition. You actually have a legal right to ask for more flexible work hours and dress code as well as an ergonomic desk to make your work situation easier.

Quit Smoking

While smoking can hinder many different activities in daily life, it can especially react negatively with arthritis. Smoking and drinking can make your body’s inflammation worsen causing your arthritis to flare up. 

Continue With Your Love Life

Arthritis can affect your social and love life especially during physical activities like sex. Taking pain meds and a warm shower before, you can focus on how you can improve your experience so your arthritis does not hinder your experience. You can give birth to a healthy baby even with your arthritis diagnosis. Be sure to talk to your doctor about stopping some medications if they can affect you or your partners’ pregnancy.

Understanding Arthritis in your 20s

While arthritis can affect some of the parts in your life, it doesn’t have to control it. Arthritis can affect your mental health even more so than your physical health. Make sure to keep the physical stressors low and take it easy. If you don’t feel like going out this Friday with your friends, skip it and go for a stroll in the park instead. Get enough rest and make sure you talk out your issues with someone you can trust. 

How to Prevent Arthritis (for all ages)

Luckily for the people in their 20s, routine habits that improve your health overall can obviously help with developments like arthritis. Follow these few tips and reduce your risk of infection.

a brown monkey sleeps on a tree branch
There are an abundance of easy daily steps to take that can help your physical and mental health with arthritis.


Exercises like walking, biking and swimming can help to reduce arthritis or joint pain and instead improve joint function. Exercising regularly can cause weight loss which can reduce the stress of weight-bearing joints.

Monitor Blood Sugar

High blood sugar levels can cause inflammation leading to joint issues. Drinking plenty of water and eating more fiber and these superfoods can help keep inflammation and blood sugar levels down.

  • Berries like strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries contain antioxidants that have anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Fatty fish like salmon, sardines, herring, mackerel, and anchovies contain omega-3 fatty acids that help to reduce inflammation.
  • Broccoli contains an antioxidant that reduces inflammation and is highly nutritious.
  • Avocados help to form new skin cells as well as reduce inflammation.
  • Green tea is a healthy drink due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory characteristics.
  • Peppers can help to decrease inflammation and support a healthy aging process.
  • Grapes reduce risk of some heart diseases and eye disorders as well as protect the heart from inflammation.
  • Turmeric is an anti-inflammatory spice that can help with internal health.
  • Extra virgin olive oil is rich in fat and can reduce the risk of serious health conditions. It has been compared to anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen.


Activity throughout the day is important for overall health and joint flexibility. Rest is extremely important after a long day. Your symptoms can lesson and joints have time to recover.

Sleep has a direct correlation to inflammation and therefore, joint pain. In a randomized study conducted to investigate the correlation between sleep deprivation and pain, it found that symptoms of insomnia increased the risk of developing chronic pain in previously painless people. Both sleep disturbances and insufficient sleep quality will likely induce joint pain and possibly chronic pain.

How to Live Life with Arthritis

If you are at your breaking point and you need improvements or help, contact your doctor with any questions you may have- they know your body second best to you! 

A spotted brown and white dog stretches on the street
Treatments, medications, lifestyle changes, and surgeries all give possibilities of improvement in joints and joint pain. Find out which is best for you.


Some pain relievers like over the counter anti-inflammatory ibuprofen can help with joint pain for a limited amount of time. Talk to your docs for stronger pain reliever medications.


Cortisone or hyaluronic injections can be administered by a specialist to increase cushion between joints and reduce inflammation. In severe cases, replacement joints might be necessary.

Physical Therapy and Exercises

Therapy exercises can help to improve joint mobility and movement. Bending and straightening a joint in certain exercises can reduce pain or even negate the need for surgery.

This is Not The End!

Arthritis can be painful and disruptive to a normal life. If you find yourself with arthritis especially at a young age, have no fear. You can take preventative measures to enact a healthy lifestyle with or without arthritis.

Jun 28, 2023