• October 2, 2023
  • Dr Peter Landsberg

Last updated on October 2, 2023

A comprehensive look at arthritis prevention and risk reduction

In Australia, arthritis is predicted to affect a staggering 5.4 million people by 2030. With more than 100 different conditions falling under the broad umbrella of arthritis, it impacts a diverse group of people. Given its prevalence and potential for impacting the quality of 5.4 million people’s lives, it is vital to understand how to prevent arthritis.

Our expert Rheumatologists at ArthritisCARE have curated this list to help reduce your risk of developing arthritis.

What is arthritis?

Arthritis is a term given to joint pain or joint disease. Common symptoms include joint swelling, pain, and reduced mobility. While some symptoms remain consistent, others can worsen over time. Beyond just joints, certain arthritis forms can also impact organs like the heart and lungs.

The most common types of arthritis include osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and gout. For the list of all the many different forms of arthritis we treat at ArthritisCARE see our “Conditions” page.

How to Prevent Arthritis

Arthritis encompasses a broad collection of diseases, and each type develops differently.

What causes arthritis?

Whilst we don’t always know the exact cause of arthritis, we do know it can be triggered by genetic, environmental and lifestyle factors. It may be caused by:

  • wear and tear resulting in joint damage, such as the case of osteoarthritis
  • an autoimmune disease, where your immune system malfunctions (like with rheumatoid arthritis)
  • an infection or virus

Age, family history, and previous injuries can also play a significant role.

How to prevent arthritis

Unfortunately, there is no surefire way of preventing arthritis. However, there are many things you can do to reduce your risk or to manage arthritis symptoms.

Non-modifiable risk factors

A non-modifiable risk factor is something you cannot control or change. These are things such as age, gender and genetic predisposition. Although you can’t change these risk factors, you can still take steps towards reducing your risk or delaying the onset of arthritis.

Modifiable risk factors

There are many arthritis risk factors that you can control to prevent or even slow the progression of your disease. These factors are:

  • obesity and being overweight as it puts too much stress on your joints
  • smoking
  • unhealthy diet
  • sedentary lifestyle
  • occupations or activities that involve heavy lifting, squatting or bending at the knees, or a repetitive motion

Whilst you may still develop arthritis, by incorporating a few healthy habits into your life you can relieve pain and inflammation, or even slow the progression of your condition.

Diet and arthritis prevention

An anti-inflammatory diet has been shown to reduce inflammation and arthritis pain. This healthy diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids, fruits, vegetables and whole grains also has the added benefit of helping you with losing weight, therefore reducing the stress on weight-bearing joints.

How to Prevent Arthritis

How to prevent arthritis – a diet high in omega-3’s and other anti-inflammatory foods can reduce your risks of arthritis, as well as helping with other risk factors such as weight management and blood sugar control.

How to prevent arthritis with exercise

A healthy lifestyle with regular low-impact exercises and aerobic exercise can improve physical and emotional well-being, as well as strengthen muscles, joints, ligaments and tendons. By incorporating regular exercise into your routine you improve your muscle and joint health, keep joints flexible and can help maintain your weight at healthy levels.

Weight management

Being overweight or even moderate weight can put too much strain on your joints, causing damage and increasing your arthritis risk. Maintaining a healthy weight is especially beneficial for slowing osteoarthritis progression. In fact, research has shown that up to 70% of knee osteoarthritis is preventable when you avoid injury to your joints and excess weight gain.

Blood sugar control

Studies have found that high blood sugar can lead to joint damage and systemic inflammation that can lead to painful joints and other arthritis symptoms. If you have diabetes or are at risk of developing the condition, you should take steps to ensure adequate blood sugar and disease control so you don’t go on to develop arthritis.

Protect your joints

There are many things you can do to protect your joints and prevent arthritis pain.

Avoid repetitive movements: Continuous repetitive motion can strain your joints. Remember to change tasks and take breaks.

Use the right techniques when lifting or working: Ergonomics can be a game-changer. Lift with your knees, not your back, use proper safety equipment and set up a healthy workspace to reduce joint strain.

Sport: Choose sports and activities that are easy on the joints. If you do engage in high-impact sports, ensure you use protective equipment and proper techniques.

Don’t smoke

Quitting smoking is multifaceted. You will lower your risk of stroke, lung or heart disease and your risk of arthritis. Smoking has been found to contribute to people developing specific types of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis.

Can you prevent arthritis?

While we can’t change certain factors like genetics, there are actionable steps every Australian can take to lead a healthier life and reduce the risk of arthritis. With some simple changes, you can slow joint damage, fight inflammation and improve joint function. Aim to increase your physical activity, quit smoking, and lose weight to protect your joints and reduce the likelihood of arthritis.

How to Contact Us

Enquiries / Appointments

Phone: (07) 3255 1066
Fax: (07) 3521 6780
Email: admin@arthritiscare.com.au


24 Railway Terrace
Dutton Park QLD 4102
For more information please see our contact page.

Working Hours

Mon to Friday: 8.00am – 4.00pm
Sat, Sun & Public Holidays: Closed

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I naturally reduce arthritis?

Several methods can help with managing arthritis naturally, such as maintaining a healthy weight, regular exercise to improve physical function, an anti-inflammatory diet and ensuring you protect your joints when playing sports or working.

What to eat to prevent arthritis?

A balanced diet can help in preventing arthritis. Consider incorporating these foods into your diet:

  • Fatty fish: Salmon, mackerel, and sardines are rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Whole grains: Oats, brown rice, and whole-grain bread can reduce inflammation.
  • Green leafy vegetables: Spinach, kale, and broccoli are rich in antioxidants.
  • Nuts and seeds: Walnuts, almonds, and flaxseeds can combat inflammation.
  • Avoid processed foods and sugars, as they can trigger inflammatory responses.

How to reduce your risk of arthritis?

To minimise your risk, you should stay active, avoid injuries, maintain a healthy weight for your height, gender and age, eat a well-balanced diet that incorporates anti-inflammatory foods and limit repetitive movements.

How to prevent rheumatoid arthritis?

The exact cause of rheumatoid arthritis is not known, there are several factors you can modify to prevent RA. You should quit smoking, limit exposure to environmental toxins, consume Omega-3’s and seek treatment with a Rheumatologist if you suspect RA.

Dr Peter Landsberg

About The Author

Dr Peter Landsberg

Dr Peter Landsberg practices general Rheumatology with a special interest in inflammatory arthritis and connective tissue disorders. His holistic approach to medicine stems from the 12 years he spent as a GP before studying Rheumatology. On weekends you’ll find him trying (not always successfully) to stay upright on his mountain bike as he rides downhill tracks. Or out on Moreton Bay in his well-used tinnie, fishing with his family and the dog!

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