Men Get Arthritis Too - Men's Health Week

April, 2024

While it's true that women are more commonly diagnosed with arthritis, men are by no means immune to arthritis. In fact, arthritis can affect men of all ages, races, and backgrounds, with some differences in presentation and risk factors.

In this article, we'll explore how arthritis manifests in men, its risk factors, and strategies for prevention and management.

Understanding Arthritis in Men

Arthritis, is an umbrella term, for a group of over 120 different conditions characterised by inflammation and stiffness in the joints, leading to pain, swelling, and decreased mobility.

The most common types of arthritis include osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, and psoriatic arthritis. While the prevalence of arthritis is higher in women, men are also susceptible to developing the condition.

Types of Arthritis

  • Osteoarthritis: This joint disease is the most common form of arthritis in both men and women. Osteoarthritis occurs when the protective cartilage that cushions the ends of bones wears down over time, leading to pain, stiffness, and loss of joint function.
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis: Although rheumatoid arthritis is more common in women, men can also develop this autoimmune disorder, which causes inflammation in the lining of the joints, leading to pain, swelling, and joint deformity.
  • Gout: Gout is a type of arthritis characterised by sudden, severe attacks of pain, redness, and swelling in the joints, often affecting the big toe. Gout occurs when urate crystals (build up of uric acid in the blood) accumulates in the joints, triggering inflammatory responses.
  • Psoriatic Arthritis: Men with psoriasis, a skin condition characterised by red, scaly patches, are at risk of developing psoriatic arthritis, which causes joint pain, stiffness, and swelling, along with skin and nail changes.

Risk factors for Arthritis in Men

While the exact causes of arthritis remain unclear, several risk factors increase the likelihood of developing the condition in men:

  • Age: The risk of arthritis increases with age, with older adults more susceptible to osteoarthritis and other age-related joint changes.
  • Genetics: Family history plays a significant role in arthritis risk, with certain genetic factors predisposing people to develop the condition.
  • Obesity: Excess weight puts added stress on the joints, particularly the knees, hips, and spine, increasing the risk of osteoarthritis.
  • Occupation: Jobs that involve repetitive movements, heavy lifting, or prolonged standing may increase the risk of developing arthritis, particularly osteoarthritis.
  • Joint Injuries: Previous joint injuries, such as fractures or ligament tears, can predispose men to develop osteoarthritis later in life.

Prevention and Management Strategies

While arthritis cannot always be prevented, several lifestyle changes and treatment options can help reduce symptoms and improve quality of life for men living with the condition:

  • Maintain a Healthy Weight: Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight can reduce stress on the joints and decrease the risk of developing osteoarthritis.
  • Stay Active: Regular exercise, including strength training, flexibility exercises, and low-impact activities such as swimming or cycling, can help improve joint function and mobility.
  • Eat a Balanced Diet: A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins can help reduce inflammation and support overall joint health.
  • Manage Stress: Stress can worsen arthritis symptoms, so finding healthy coping mechanisms such as meditation, yoga, or relaxation techniques is essential.
  • Follow Treatment Plans: If diagnosed with arthritis, men should work closely with healthcare professionals to develop a personalised treatment plan, which may include medications, physical therapy, and lifestyle modifications.

Aussie men experience different health outcomes to Australian women. They are more likely to engage in risky health behaviours (such as smoking and alcohol intake), and are less likely to get treatment from a GP or other health professionals until a condition or illness is more advanced. 

For more information, this article Aussie Men Get Arthritis Too by CreakyJoints explain the challenges for men with arthritis, and the many people and places to turn to for support. Access the Creaky Joints article at:

How can we help? 

More information and support 

Join the Arthritis men's online support group

Speak with someone else living with arthritis through Arthritis Assist

Have questions? Call our free infoline on 1800 011 041 to speak with a member of our health team. 

Order your free information pack for more tips on the ways you can help manage your arthritis.