Arthritis: Canada’s most common chronic disease

September is National Arthritis month.

More than 1 in 5 Canadians live with arthritis, making in the nation’s most common chronic disease.

What is Arthritis?

Arthritis is a collection of conditions affecting joints and other tissues. It causes pain, restricts mobility and diminishes quality of life.

Did you know?

  • There are over 100 different types of arthritis. Arthritis is characterized by inflammation in the joints or other areas of the body and there are more than 100 different types of arthritis and related diseases. Arthritis is grouped into two broad categories: osteoarthritis (the most common type of arthritis); and inflammatory types of arthritis (such as rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile idiopathic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis, and gout).
  • Arthritis is the leading cause of joint replacement surgeries in Canada, including over 99% of knee replacements and more than 70% of hip replacements. Moreover, 1 in 3 Canadians do not receive their procedures within medically recommended guidelines of 6 months. The prolonged wait for these crucial surgeries affects the quality of life for many arthritis patients who are suffering from excruciating pain and lack of mobility.
  • Arthritis is a leading cause of disability and work limitations in Canada. Working-aged Canadians with arthritis are twice as likely to report that they are not participating in the workforce compared to their peers without arthritis. Significantly reduced participation is seen at ages as young as 35 and this highlights an increased need for support for starting and staying in work.

Many people of all ages are living with joint pain or other joint symptoms. Don’t just write the discomfort off as ‘getting older’; early action can lead to early relief.

Try the Arthritis Society’s symptom checker.

Managing Arthritis

Arthritis affects everyone differently so treatment planning should be tailored to individual needs with guidance from members of the treatment team (e.g. family doctor, rheumatologist, surgeon, physiotherapist, occupational therapist etc.).


The good news is: medications on the market today are safer and more effective than ever before. Medications to treat arthritis can be divided into two general categories: those that control symptoms and those that control the disease itself. Read more.

Pain Management

Pain caused by arthritis can be distressing, unpleasant and sometimes debilitating. It affects millions each year and prevents them from living life to its fullest. The Arthritis Society has some excellent information on managing pain and improving quality of life. Here you will find information to help you better manage arthritis pain symptoms and improve your quality of life.


Joint replacement surgery is a treatment option for people with advanced osteoarthritis (OA). While it is a major operation with an extended recovery, joint replacement may help to reduce pain, increase quality of life, and improve mobility. You can learn more from the Arthritis Society.