Arthritis – Can You Tell the Facts From the Myths?

Let’s put your arthritis knowledge to the test. Can you identify which statements are true and which are not?

There’s no shortage of myths and wives’ tales when it comes to talking about arthritis. Let’s take a look at a few common beliefs to see if you can tell fact from fiction.

1. Losing weight won’t help with osteoarthritis (OA) symptoms. False!

One study found that for every 1 pound lost, there is a 4 pound decrease in the force applied to the knee while walking. That suggests that even modest weight loss can make a significant difference.1

2. Not moving is the best thing to do if you have OA. False!

Contrary to what intuition may tell you, not moving can actually make your OA worse. Physical activity can help you ease pain and stay flexible.3

Maintaining Joint Health

3. All joint pain indicates arthritis. False!

There are many other conditions that can cause joint pain like muscle strain, bursitis and tendinitis.

4. People of all ages can have arthritis. True.

Many people think that arthritis is an “old person’s” disease, but that’s not the case. People of all ages can develop arthritis.

5. Many types of arthritis exist. True.

There are more than 100 types of arthritis and associated diseases.2

6. All types of arthritis are treated the same way. False!

Depending on your specific type and condition, many possible courses of treatment could be available. 

7. Cracking your knuckles leads to arthritis. False!

While you may end up with arthritis anyway, it won’t be from knuckle cracking.4

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  1. Messier, S., et al. (2005). Weight loss reduces knee‐joint loads in overweight and obese older adults with knee osteoarthritis. Arthritis & Rheumatism. 52(7).
  2. Knee Pain (2019). Mayo Clinic.
  3. Benefits of Exercise for Osteoarthritis (2020). Arthritis Foundation.
  4. Does cracking knuckles cause arthritis (2020). Harvard Health Publishing Harvard Medical School.

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