Jennie Garth has early-onset osteoarthritis: ‘you associate it with the elderly’

Jennie Garth just turned 50. That might be weird for some of you, who came to know Jennie by watching her play a high schooler on 90210. We have a tendency to keep these celebrities in the roles we first met them. But Jennie is 50 and now she has 50-year-old problems, like arthritis. Jennie was diagnosed with early-onset osteoarthritis when she was 47. Osteoarthritis, despite its scary name, is the most common form of arthritis. Although it can affect any joint, it mostly shows up in the hands, knees, hips and spine. Jennie noticed something was up in her fingers and knees. But she was skeptical at first because she thought she was too young for arthritis. Jennie, like many people, thought only old farts get arthritis and can’t move around as a result. But as she found out, not only can it sneak into our fabulous mid-lives, even with arthritis, an active life is just a few determined steps away.

Jennie Garth isn’t letting her early-onset osteoarthritis diagnosis slow her down.

The Beverly Hills, 90210 alum, 50, told Insider Thursday that she was diagnosed with the condition at 47 years old after feeling stiffness in her fingers and hands, as well as pain in her knees.

“I was like, I’m too young for arthritis,” she said. “When you hear the word arthritis, you associate it with the elderly and people who are immobile, who can’t live an active life.”

Garth refused to allow the diagnosis to stop her from having an active lifestyle, though, telling the outlet, “It was just a new, interesting development in my maturing. You don’t think of yourself as slowing down or anything stopping you from all the things you do every day.”

“When you know what you’re dealing with physically, there’s always a workaround,” she added. “I definitely don’t let anything limit me.”

The mother of three enjoys playing golf and hiking with her dogs, according to Insider. She also uses stretching to help improve symptoms.

Garth told the outlet she is not taking medication for her condition but applies an over-the-counter gel that provides “relief” from joint pain.

[From People]

I’m empathetically laughing at Jennie being all, “Arthritis is for old people!” I went to my first exercise class in *mumblemumble* years over the weekend. As I situated myself, I looked around the room and thought, “oh, look at all these nice old ladies. I should be able to keep up,” when I realized – all those “old ladies” were my age. Somehow, I aged out of my 30s and no one told me! I don’t think 50 is old, nor do I think I am old, but I do think Jennie and I should probably get used to being called ma’am.

As for osteoarthritis, I understand where Jennie is coming from, it is commonly exaggerated in older (like actual old) people on film and commercials. But any athlete can tell you, arthritis doesn’t wait around. As a former swimmer and dancer, my ankles have been signaling trouble since my early 40s. And for some, it’s crippling long before their 50s. I remember arthritis and cataracts were the two reasons my friends’ moms had pot prescriptions. But I also know that it can be incredibly painful and I’m glad Jennie is able to manage hers so far with stretching and over-the-counter gel.

Spoilers for Grace and Frankie
I finished Grace and Frankie and *SPOILER* when Frankie couldn’t hold her paintbrush anymore, it broke my heart. I had an artist friend who suffered that fate (one of the pot prescriptions above) and it stole something from her. If you are a very young 50ish person and feel some stiffness, especially in a place you once had an injury, talk to your doctor. Jennie’s doing you a favor to start working with it now and not wait until arthritis settles in. You can’t reverse it, but you can find ways to work with it. Take control of it before it controls you.

Photo credit: Avalon Red and Instagram

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22 Responses to “Jennie Garth has early-onset osteoarthritis: ‘you associate it with the elderly’”

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  1. Ang says:

    Would be fun to have a reboot of 90210 with the trials and tribulations of seniors! Golden Girls meets The Peach Pit.

  2. Amy T says:

    I’m going to be 63 and I cackled at “first exercise class in *mumblemumble* and all that followed. I am about a year ahead of Hecate on that curve and starting is the hardest part. So go, Hecate! Jennie sounds like she has things under control. With osteoarthritis, stretching and moving really does make a difference.

  3. Fineskylark says:

    I first noticed the arthritis in my fingers when I was in my mid-30s. Thanks, genetics!

    • NotSoSocialB says:

      Mhm. I feel you- I had my dominant hand require joint reconstruction of my thumb at 45. 11 years later and my left thumb is now bone on bone like the right was. I have OA in my feet, hands & lumbar spine. Keep moving, and PT is your friend.

  4. Orangeowl says:

    Good for her for not letting the diagnosis slow her down. I’m in my 50s and am now using longevity as my motivator to keep as active as possible. My grandmother and my mom were quite sedentary and had to so many health problems as they aged. My mom has Alzheimers and my doctor said good sleep and regular exercise are the number one defenses against dementia later in life.

  5. smegmoria says:

    I got arthritis during my first pregnancy at 18. Arthritis sucks.

  6. Twin falls says:

    My mom had disfiguring arthritis that started during her 50s. My knuckles have started to enlarge at 46 but it’s not painful yet. I suppose I should see someone but I don’t think there’s much to be done other than learn to manage it.

    • Soapboxpudding says:

      That sounds like Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) and you absolutely should see someone about it. I’ve had arthritis since I was a kid and for years a working diagnosis of RA (rediagnosed years later with Primary Sjogrens that causes athralgias) . There are medicines and life style changes that can help a lot. Medical-grade CBD has done wonders for my mobility and reducing inflammation.

  7. Jen says:

    I was diagnosed this year with osteoarthritis in both knees at 35 and it’s been such a tough journey! I pushed off going to the doctor because I thought my bad knees were just going to go back to normal like they always did. It’s been agonizing and embarrassing to not be able to be as active or mobile as I want to be – it doesn’t help that I’m also fat so it adds another level of shame and presumed judgement, etc.

    I’m telling you: if something seems wrong, please go if you can manage. While I do have a solid routine of Biofreeze and Aleve (and working towards weight loss), I just started physical therapy and finally have hope again of living a semi-normal almost regularly mobile life.

  8. Becky Mae says:

    I’m 51 and having a double knee replacement in two weeks due to bone on bone osteoarthritis. It’s no joke, the pain at night lead me to a medicinal cannabis prescription which, in Australia, is only a recent thing and it’s changed my pain dramatically. Years of working in hospitality and genetics have effed up both knees.

    Whilst a bilateral TKR is a radical thing for someone my age, I and my surgeon agree, I don’t need to spend the rest of my 50’s (and life) in pain because of it.

    • Miss V says:

      I’m 43 and already diagnosed with osteoarthritis and need a knee replacement. (I played soccer in college and have had 4 knee surgeries since I was a kid). They want me to try physical therapy first… but the pain in my knee is next level and definitely a quality of life issue. Staying active and a healthy weight is the key, though. I gained weight during quarantine and am trying to get back to my pre-covid weight. The struggle is real!

    • J says:

      Good luck on your knee replacement, Becky Mae! I’m 50 and have bone on bone on my right knee and just got a cortisone shot. If that doesn’t provide enough relief, I’ll be getting a knee replacement in the fall. I mean, I’ll have to get the knee replacement at some point, regardless, it’s just can the shots provide enough relief to push it off for now.

      My left knee also sucks, but apparently not as bad, and my doc won’t do a double knee replacement – I’ll have to get one done, recover, and then do the other. Ugh!

      My initial doc wasn’t keen on doing a knee replacement on me because of my age – wanted to push it off for as long as possible, but I told him that I’d rather be highly mobile at 50 than at 75!

      • Becky Mae says:

        Thank you J! You are exactly the same as me! Definitely get a second opinion and I found the cortisone injection helped me for about a month so I don’t bother any longer. Taking a CBD/THC tincture at night head though and I have a CBD balm for my right knee that’s amazing. Good luck!

    • Elizabeth says:

      I had the medial compartments of both knees replaced at 52. I’m almost 66 now and it was definitely the right choice. I can’t imagine having to go through the pain and limitations I had then for the last 14 years. You’ll be fine, I was up and walking in a day. Good luck!

  9. HeatherC says:

    Turning 43 this year and I already have moderate OA in my left hip, aggravated by my love for metal pits. Not stopping me, festival next week. I’ll deal with the pain after lol. But damp days are hell.

  10. Nicole says:

    I have early onset osteoarthritis in my back and my knees are beginning to talk to me. It runs in my family. We get to learn to love low impact everything. I still have a bucket list for a half marathon, but I’m adjusting to cycling and swimming. I recognized that I have new limitations and adjust accordingly. Aging sucks, but I’m not down for the alternative.

  11. SueM says:

    I had a hip replacement last year at 62, due to severe osteoarthritis. I had pain for many years before and was putting it down to pulled muscles, sciatica, etc. I was completely shocked at the arthritis diagnosis when I was 60. In retrospect, I can see I was having mobility issues easily as early as 55. I should have had the hip replacement way earlier, but covid delayed the procedure. I am so glad I did it as this amazing surgery has given me my life back. It’s like I never had a problem. And prior I had been using a cane for 16 months and was in constant pain. Thank god for our medical system in Canada, didn’t cost me a dime. And I am back to normal now, going to the gym, walking a huge amount, life is good!

  12. lucy2 says:

    It sucks to suddenly realize you aren’t 20 and pain free anymore! I’ve had a bad back since my mid 20s though, and I’m sure have a lot of arthritis around that, and apparently have it in my neck – that’s never bothered me but I had to have some MRIs for other stuff and the neurologist told me I have it there.

  13. Lisa says:

    Hi there
    I have much sympathy. I had undiagnosed juvenile Ra & now have adult, also have Oa in my knee that I need replaced but I’m to young they tell me, I’m about to be 50.
    I’m getting a second opinion, which is the best advice I can give a person, never be afraid to question a doctor, they are human and if it scares you get a 3rd. It’s practicing medicine, it evolves, if a doctor doesn’t the humility to admit that move on, unless it’s a neurosurgeon they are just a special breed: I work in the healthcare field and that helped me not lose faith in them when they failed me severely a few times.
    Also the power of positive thinking is a thing.

  14. Ange says:

    It doesn’t wait around for you to be ready, that’s for sure. I got RA at 31 and osteo followed in my knee very shortly after.

  15. Eggbert says:

    Due to sports injuries at a relatively young age, I’m going to need a hip and knee replacement before 40 yo. Seriously consider letting your children do competitive sports. Even without a serious injury, your joints get worn out.