Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Are athletes more likely to get arthritis?"
I am a 28 year old athlete. I know everyone starts to get stiff after a while. Are athletes more likely to develop arthritis?
Arthritis is a common medical condition. Medically, it is defined as inflammation in the joint. Regardless of cause, if you are experiencing joint pain and stiffness you should see your primary care doctor to have this evaluated. Arthritis, depending on the cause, can continue and ultimately result in joint destruction, therefore early diagnosis and treatment are important. Firstly, arthritis is the inflammation of the joint. There are many different causes of inflammation. The most common cause is osteoarthritis -- which is simply the wear and tear of the joint. This is more common in older people, often obese patients and especially in the weight bearing joints. Athletes, may experience osteoarthritis because of unusual amounts of stress on a joint. For example, football players and their knees/hips or pitchers and their shoulder/elbows. Therefore the answer to your question is YES -- athletes can experience more arthritis in terms of osteoarthritis. This is really only in professional hardcore athletes and not simply in the occasional weekend player. Outside of this, there are many other causes of arthritis like rheumatoid or infectious arthritis that to are not increased in athletes. Unless you are an extremely rigorous athlete, you should not experience early arthritis. Regardless, see your doctor in order to have this addressed. Good luck!