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Fatigue and arthritis

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What is fatigue?

Fatigue is a feeling of extreme physical or mental tiredness, or both. It can affect people with any type of arthritis. Read more >

What are the features of fatigue?

Fatigue can have the following features:
  • your body and limbs feel heavy and won’t work properly
  • flu-like feelings of exhaustion
  • the feeling that your energy has drained away.

Many people also experience a mental fatigue ('brain fog') or an emotional fatigue.

Read more >

How is fatigue measured?

There’s no direct way of measuring fatigue, but your rheumatology team or GP can assess how it’s affecting your life. Read more >

What causes fatigue?

Many things may combine to cause fatigue, including:
  • inflammation
  • anaemia
  • other long-term conditions such as diabetes or thyroid disease
  • some drugs used to treat arthritis
  • pain, especially if it’s long-term
  • weak muscles, which mean you have to use more energy to do everyday tasks
  • overdoing things or carrying on with activities for too long
  • sleep disturbance
  • stress and anxiety
  • low mood or depression
  • poor diet or hunger.
Read more >

Research and new developments for fatigue

Arthritis Research UK has funded research into talking therapies specifically for arthritis-related fatigue and shown that this can help reduce its impact. Read more >
For more information, go to or call 0300 790 0400 to order the complete printed booklet.
Arthritis Research UK fund research into the cause, treatment and cure of arthritis. You can support Arthritis Research UK by volunteering, donating or visiting our shops.