Zocdoc Answers

Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors

"Why does arthritis happen in younger people?"


I wake up with stiff joints and I'm only 25.


Arthritis is a common condition. As you point out, arthritis is more common in order individuals. However, there are many reasons why people of your age can develop arthritis.

See a doctor who can help

Find a Rheumatologists near you

I would recommend that you have this evaluated by your primary care doctor. If required, he or she may refer you to a rheumatologist -- an expert in muscles and joints. Arthritis in young individuals can progress to become severely limiting, and so it is very important to have this evaluated. Arthritis refers to inflammation in the joints. This is a description, and itself not a diagnosis. The most common cause of arthritis is osteoarthritis -- which is caused by general wear and tear in the joints. This is more common in elderly, overweight individuals and most commonly in the weight bearing joints (hips and knees). When people say arthritis -- they most often mean osteoarthritis. This would be unusual in your age. But there are other causes of arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis or RA is quite common as a cause of joint inflammation in young people. This is an autoimmune disease where the body accidentally attacks the joints. This is treated different than osteoarthritis, and must be treated early before it destroys the joints. Other causes of arthritis like infections, crystals, or other autoimmune causes (like Lupus) need to be ruled out. Talk to your doctor. You should have an evaluation for other causes of arthritis.

Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.