Under 30 and Living with Early Onset Arthritis | Long-term Lifestyle and Treatment Tips

Can arthritis affect younger people? Absolutely. When most people hear the word arthritis, one of the first things that may come to mind is the elderly or older adults. But while arthritis is a disease typically associated with older adults, it may also affect individuals at a much younger age.

This is why it’s important to know the signs and symptoms of early onset arthritis, as well as the following methods to treat and prevent the progression of early onset arthritis.

Ways to Treat Early Onset Arthritis:

  • Diet modifications
  • Weight loss
  • Exercise
  • Yoga
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Vitamins / supplements
  • Arthritis Wonder cream for pain

What is Early Onset Arthritis?

Arthritis can refer to inflammation of one or more joints, which can lead to joint pain. Arthritis typically begins to affect individuals over the age of 30. However, arthritis can develop in some individuals much earlier. When an individual begins to experience the signs and symptoms of arthritis before the age of 30, it may be referred to as early onset arthritis.

What Causes Early Onset Arthritis?

Most people suffering from stiffness and joint pain have a specific form of arthritis known as osteoarthritis. There are many factors that can cause osteoarthritis, which include genetics, metabolics, and a previous injury. Wear-and-tear can also lead to this form of early onset arthritis, when frequent and repetitive activity creates excessive strain.

Hereditary arthritis typically affects the hands, though it is possible for joint stiffness and pain to occur in other parts of the body as well. One uncommon form of hereditary osteoarthritis affects younger people under 30. In these cases, a genetic mutation affects the collagen, which is an essential part of cartilage. When signs of early onset arthritis appear, it’s wise to determine if the symptoms run in the family.

Osteoarthritis is frequently caused by changes in the metabolic processes, ranging from Alzheimer’s to metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome refers to a cluster of conditions, and it often linked to obesity. These metabolic issues such as heart disease, diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure can contribute to chronic inflammation. Obesity will also aggravate existing arthritis by adding weight strain to joints, along with causing muscle atrophy due to physical inactivity. 

Early onset arthritis can also be caused by an injury. A sports injury, car accident, or nasty fall on ice can all lead to osteoarthritis. Not every injury needs to be immediately traumatic, however. Repetition and stress can create an injury over time. For example, frequently whittling small figurines day after day could lead to chronic stiffness and pain in the hands.

Another possible contributor to the onset of arthritis can be high uric acid levels. Uric acid is a chemical produced by the human body. When uric acid levels reach a certain point for a sustained period of time, they can cause damage to specific joints. Once joint damage occurs, individuals can experience sudden bursts of pain in the affected joint. The type of arthritis caused by high uric acid levels is often referred to as gout.

What Does Early Onset Arthritis Feel Like?

Early onset arthritis may develop for many different reasons, although once it does develop it has a very specific feel. Essentially, the feel of early onset arthritis can be summed up in two words – pain and stiffness. The pain associated with early onset arthritis is often reported as a dull, burning sensation and typically occurs after movement or taking part in a strenuous activity. For example, an individual may feel pain in their shoulder after a tennis match or an individual may feel a dull, burning in their knees after a run. In the early stages of arthritis an individual may be able to overcome the pain, although as the disease progresses, the pain can become more intense and limiting to the person’s ability to take part in the activities they once enjoyed. Unfortunately, the pain associated with early onset arthritis can intensify to the point where it can even prevent an individual suffering from the disease from walking up a staircase. For that reason, it is important for individuals to recognize persistent, progressive pain and report it to their primary care physician as soon as possible.

Stiffness is also a big part of early onset arthritis. Stiffness associated with early onset arthritis may occur with or without pain. Stiffness can be felt in any of the types of joints affected by early onset arthritis and often occurs in the morning or after long periods of inactivity. Stiffness can be just as detrimental to an individual’s mobility as pain, which is why stiffness should also be reported to a primary care physician as soon as possible.

What Causes the Pain and Stiffness Associated with Early Onset Arthritis?

As arthritis progresses, it beings to break down and destroy the cartilage between bones. The cartilage in the human body, typically found in joints, acts as shock-absorbing pads. This protects the bones and prevents them from rubbing against each other during movement. Once the cartilage between bones becomes damaged to the point of where it is no longer functioning, the bones begin to rub against each other, causing the pain and stiffness associated with early onset arthritis. Unfortunately, once the cartilage between bones is further destroyed by arthritis, it can lead to progressive pain for the individual suffering from early onset arthritis, which is another reason why early detection and pain/stiffness reporting is imperative to the treatment of almost every type of arthritis.

What does early onset arthritis look like?

Along with a specific feel, arthritis may also have a specific look. Different forms of arthritis such as arthritis in fingers, arthritis in hands, and arthritis in knees can take on a very distinct appearance. In some occurrences, the appearance of arthritis can be easy to observe. For example, when arthritis affects the joints found in the fingers, it can lead to redness, swelling, joint enlargement and even physical deformities, all of which may be observed by the individual suffering from the disease. In other occurrences of arthritis, it may be much more difficult to observe the physical manifestations of the disease and the use of an x-ray or a MRI scan may be needed to view the effects of early onset arthritis. The appearance and look of arthritis is often used in the diagnostic process to help a physician determine if an individual is suffering from arthritis.

How is early onset arthritis diagnosed?

Early onset arthritis is typically diagnosed by a physician. When diagnosing early onset arthritis, a physician will use a physical exam to look for the signs and symptoms of early onset arthritis which may include redness, swelling, decreased range of motion, difficulty walking, tenderness and, of course, pain and stiffness. Along with the physical exam, a physician may also employ a variety of different tests, x-rays and MRI scans to target specific parts of the body in order to aid in the diagnostic process. Once a diagnosis is made it is important for individuals to ask their physicians any questions they may have regarding arthritis and their specific diagnoses. The types of questions individuals newly diagnosed with arthritis should ask their physician may include the following.

  • What are the types of arthritis?
  • What are the types of joints affected by early onset arthritis?
  • What is inflammatory arthritis?
  • What is degenerative arthritis?
  • What is rheumatoid arthritis?
  • What are the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis?
  • What is felty syndrome?
  • How can I maintain my mobility?
  • What are the best treatment options for me?


How to treat early onset arthritis?

When an individual receives an early onset arthritis diagnosis, it is important that they begin some form of treatment right away. Fortunately, for those diagnosed with early onset arthritis, there are many different treatment options available to help slow down the progressive effects of the disease.

Diet Modifications

Making diet modifications is often a treatment option for many diseases and early onset arthritis is no exception. Remove foods that may lead to inflammation such as bread, red meat, milk and cheese, and add foods that reduce inflammation such as green leafy vegetables, almonds, walnuts and fatty fish like salmon. This way, one can begin to manage the effects of early onset arthritis.

Weight Loss

Weight loss is another effective way to manage the signs and symptoms of early onset arthritis. As previously mentioned, arthritis can lead to pain, stiffness, decreased range of motion and limited mobility. Excess weight can exasperate the aforementioned effects of early onset arthritis. Thus, by losing and maintaining a health weight, one can limit the effects early onset arthritis can have on motion and mobility.

Regular exercise is an excellent way to treat early onset arthritis. Losing weight will reduce muscle strain and lighten the load on joints and bones. Focusing on joint movement when exercising will strengthen the muscles surrounding your joints and help build healthy bones. Research indicates that most individuals should exercise 30 minute a day, five times a week. While participating in any form of exercise, individuals should pay close attention to how they feel. Any signs of excessive heart strain or progressive physical discomfort should be reported to a primary care physician.

Individuals suffering from arthritis should also be aware that a member of their healthcare professional team may recommend a specific exercise regimen depending on their arthritis diagnosis. For example, someone diagnosed with early onset rheumatoid arthritis may receive a different type of exercise regimen when compared to a older adult suffering from osteoarthritis. The different types of arthritis may require different exercise regimens to maximize results. Individuals diagnosed with arthritis should proceed with exercise regimens as directed by members of their healthcare team.


Yoga incorporates stretching and muscle building , which can promote flexibility, movement and mobility. Therefore, yoga can be the ideal way for individuals to limit the signs and symptoms of early onset arthritis. There are many different types of yoga and it is important that individuals find the right type of yoga for them in order to optimize the results of the practice.

Anti-Inflammatory Drugs

Anti-inflammatory drugs, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), may be used to treat the effects of arthritis. Anti-inflammatory drugs may be used alone or in combination with other treatment options. It is important to speak to your physician about the use of anti-inflammatory drugs before they are added to any treatment regimen.

Vitamins and Supplements

Vitamins/supplements are another treatment option for early onset arthritis. Research indicates that some vitamins/supplements such as glucosamine, chondroitin and omega-3 can assist in the treatment of arthritis. However, one should speak with a physician before any vitamins/supplement is added to an early onset arthritis treatment regimen.

h4>Arthritis Wonder Cream for Pain

Products like Arthritis Wonder cream may be used to manage early onset arthritis. Arthritis Wonder cream for pain is a unique, fast acting product that can be used to relieve the signs and symptoms associated with arthritis. By simply applying a coin-sized drop of non-greasy Arthritis Wonder cream to affected areas once a day, individuals can feel relief in as little as 5 minutes and get back to the activities they enjoy. Arthritis Wonder cream for pain is FDA compliant and currently available for use.

Early onset arthritis can affect an individual before the age of 30. It can lead to inflammation, decreased range of motion and limited mobility. Simply put, early onset arthritis can dramatically affect your life, or the life of someone you care about. Fortunately, there is good news for those who suffer from the disease. Through the use of these various treatment options, individuals can find relief from the signs and symptoms of early onset arthritis and live a full, active, healthy and happy life.

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