What is Arthritis?

A man sitting at a table, thinking.When someone says they have arthritis, they are usually referring to a problem with their joints. Arthritis can affect any joint in the body, including:

  • hand.
  • knee.
  • Hip.
  • neck.
  • waist.

There are many different types of arthritis, with different causes and treatments. This resource will provide you with

Osteoarthritis is a joint disease that usually causes the tissue in the joints to break down over time.

Information and tips for living with osteoarthritis (OA). This is the most common type of arthritis and is more common in older adults.

Osteoarthritis can cause pain, but there are ways to make you feel better. By learning about osteoarthritis and participating in your healthcare, you'll know how to manage your symptoms so you can maintain an active lifestyle.

For more information on osteoarthritis and other types of arthritis, go to the NIAMS Health Topics page .

What are the symptoms of osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis may make you feel:

  • Pain when using the joint.
  • Joint stiffness, usually less than 30 minutes.
  • Swelling in and around the joint.
  • The ability to move the joint changes.
  • Joint laxity or instability.




A doctor speaking with a patient.



A woman weaving. 無法透過一個檢測方法就斷定您是否有骨關節炎。您的醫生可能會:

  • 詢問您的病史和家族史。
  • 做體檢以查看您的一般健康狀況、反射和出現問題的關節。
  • 讓您去做透視或MRI,獲得關節的影像。
  • 要求驗血並做其他篩查,以確保沒有其他原因造成您的症狀,例如感染。




  • 改善關節功能。
  • 阻止關節問題惡化。
  • 幫助您改善或保持生活品質。



  • 運動,可減少關節疼痛和僵直,並增加靈活性和肌肉力量。記住要在詢問醫生之後,慢慢開始任何運動計畫。
  • 管理體重以幫助減輕關節負荷。如果您過重或肥胖,減輕體重有助於減少關節疼痛,預防更多關節損傷並改善關節的運動情況。這對於您的膝蓋或髖部尤其有幫助。
  • 使用醫生開具處方並由醫療專業人員適配的支架或其他矯形器。




  • 按摩可以增加血液流動,讓按摩部位變暖。
  • 針灸可能有助於緩解疼痛。醫生認為針灸針有助於釋放神經系統產生的天然止痛化學物質。




It can also be helpful to learn as much as possible about osteoarthritis from reliable sources. Some people find that taking a class or talking to a community health worker to learn about osteoarthritis and how to manage symptoms helps you maintain an active lifestyle.

Osteoarthritis can make you feel sad or depressed. But keep in mind that many people with osteoarthritis can live full lives. Online or community support groups may be able to help you. Support groups can help you connect with other people with osteoarthritis and provide tips for managing joint problems.

A list of organisations to contact can be found in the Additional Resources section.

Here are some other tips that may help:

  • Try hot and cold therapy for joint pain relief. Heat therapy improves blood flow. Cold therapy can numb the nerves around painful joints and help relieve swelling.
  • Use crutches or a walker if needed. Crutches or walkers help with safety while walking, provide stability and reduce pain.
  • If you have arthritis in your hand, use an appliance (such as a lid opener) to help you grasp things.
  • Try to avoid repetitive movements, such as frequent bending over.
  • Insoles or braces help support the joint and help reduce pain and pressure in the affected area. This may help you stand or walk.
  • Exercise is important for maintaining or improving your daily living skills. Remember to ask your doctor before starting any new exercise, and do it slowly. You may need some time to get used to the new activity. Some exercise options may include:
    • walk.
    • Live lessons or video lessons for low-impact cardio.
    • Exercises that strengthen your balance, such as tai chi or yoga.
    • Strengthen the muscles with weights or an elastic band.
    • Swimming or water aerobics.

NIH/NIAMS Funded Research

Doctor explaining medication to patient.The National Institutes of Arthritis, Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), funded the work of scientists to identify the causes of osteoarthritis and other forms of arthritis and the best treatments.

Researchers are studying the following questions:

  • Risk factors for different types of arthritis.
  • Treatment options and how to prevent these diseases, as well as different tests for these diseases.
  • A test that helps doctors take a closer look at the joint.

In addition, the researchers will continue to:

  • Study how genes related to bones and joints are affected by our surroundings.
  • Finding new measures to understand what's going on in the body could help researchers understand how different types of arthritis develop and progress.
  • To study whether weight loss and exercise can help manage symptoms and outcomes of knee arthritis.
  • To compare the effects of different factors on pain relief in patients with arthritis.

Clinical trials: you can do your part!

A woman stretching her arms.A clinical trial is a type of research trial that requires volunteers to participate. Most clinical trials test new treatments for health problems, such as new drugs or diets. Clinical trials can help doctors understand whether new treatments are better, the same, or worse than standard treatments. Other clinical trials test ways to prevent disease or to detect disease early.

Ask your doctor if clinical trials are right for you. By volunteering for clinical trials, you can help doctors and researchers learn more about arthritis.

And while you're in a study, you may have the opportunity to receive the latest treatments and additional medical care from clinical trial staff.

To learn more about the basics of participating in a clinical trial, visit the English website NIH  Clinical Research Trials and You.

On the website you will find:

  • Information about risks and potential benefits.
  • First-hand experience of clinical trial volunteers.
  • Instructions for researchers.

Instructions on how to find clinical trials at the NIH or elsewhere in the US

To hear the experiences of participants in clinical trials led by NIAMS researchers, watch the video in English .

Where can I find more information about arthritis?

Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) 
Information Clearinghouse

National Institutes of Health
1 AMS Circle
Bethesda, MD 20892-3675
Phone: 301-495-4484 Toll
Free: 877-22-NIAMS (877-226-4267)
Hearing Impaired Line (TTY): 301-565-2966
Fax : 301-718-6366
Email: NIAMSinfo@mail.nih.gov
Website: niams.nih.gov

For more information on resources in your language or in other languages, go to our website or contact the NIAMS Information Center.

Other resources

Food and Drug Administration

Toll Free: 888-INFO-FDA (888-463-6332)
Website: fda.gov

Center for Complementary and Integrative Health
website: nccih.nih.gov

Institute on Aging
website: nia.nih.gov

American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website
: aaos.org

American College of Rheumatology website
: rheumatology.org

Physical Therapy Association
website: apta.org

Arthritis Foundation
Arthritis Foundation
website: arthritis.org

Last Updated: September 2022