"Arthritis" literally means joint inflammation. Although joint inflammation is a symptom or sign rather than a specific diagnosis, the term arthritis is often used to refer to any disorder that affects the joints. Joints are places where two bones meet, such as your elbow or knee.
There are different types of arthritis. In some diseases in which arthritis occurs, other organs, such as your eyes, heart, or skin, can also be affected.
Fortunately, current treatments allow most people with arthritis to lead active and productive lives.
There are several types of arthritis. Common ones include:
It is arthritis that affects the spine. It often involves redness, heat, swelling, and pain in the spine or in the joint where the bottom of the spine joins the pelvic bone.
It is caused by crystals that build up in the joints. It usually affects the big toe, but many other joints may be affected.
It is the term used to describe arthritis in children. Arthritis is caused by inflammation of the joints.
It usually comes with age and most often affects the fingers, knees, and hips. Sometimes osteoarthritis follows a joint injury. For example, you might have badly injured your knee when young and develop arthritis in your knee joint years later.
It can occur in people who have psoriasis (scaly red and white skin patches). It affects the skin, joints, and areas where tissues attach to bone.
It is pain or swelling in a joint that is caused by an infection in your body. You may also have red, swollen eyes and a swollen urinary tract.
It happens when the body's own defense system doesn't work properly. It affects joints and bones (often of the hands and feet), and may also affect internal organs and systems. You may feel sick or tired, and you may have a fever.
Arthritis is seen with other conditions. These include:
It happens when the body's defense system harms the joints, heart, skin, kidneys, and other organs.
Infection gets into a joint and destroys the cushion between the bones.
Symptoms of arthritis can include:
These symptoms may also be signs of other illnesses.
Some genes have been identified in certain types of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis and juvenile arthritis. People with osteoarthritis may have inherited cartilage weakness.
If you have the gene, something in your environment may trigger the condition. For example, repeated joint injury may lead to osteoarthritis.
To diagnose you with arthritis, your doctor may:
Your doctor will talk to you about the best way to treat your arthritis, based upon the type you have. Possible treatments include:
Doctors who diagnose and treat arthritis and other rheumatic diseases include:
Some people may worry that arthritis means they won't be able to work or take care of their children and their family. Others think that you just have to accept things like arthritis. It's true that arthritis can be painful. But there are things you can do to feel better:
The term arthritis is often used to refer to any disorder that affects the joints. These disorders fall within the broader category of rheumatic diseases. There are more than 100 rheumatic diseases that together affect millions of People.
"Arthritis" literally means joint inflammation, which is a symptom of the disease.
Symptoms of rheumatic diseases include inflammation (redness or heat, swelling, pain) and loss of function of one or more of the body's support structures. They especially affect joints, tendons, ligaments, bones, and muscles. Some rheumatic diseases can also involve internal organs.
Some rheumatic diseases are more common among certain populations. For example:
There are numerous types of arthritis and other rheumatic diseases, including:
It is the most common type of arthritis, damages both the cartilage (the tissue that cushions the ends of bones within the joint) and the underlying bone. Osteoarthritis can cause joint pain and stiffness. Disability results most often when the disease affects the spine, knees, and hips.
It is a less common type of arthritis that occurs when the immune system attacks the lining of the joint (synovium). This produces pain, swelling and loss of joint function. The most commonly affected joints are those in the hands and feet.
It is a type of arthritis caused by needle-like crystals of uric acid that gather in the joints, usually beginning in the big toe. Symptoms may come and go and include inflammation, swelling, and pain in the affected joint(s).
It is caused by infectious agents such as bacteria or viruses. Parvovirus arthritis and gonococcal arthritis are examples of infectious arthritis, as is the arthritis that occurs with Lyme disease, a bacterial infection caused by the bite of infected ticks.
It is the most common form of arthritis in childhood. Symptoms include pain, stiffness, swelling, and loss of joint function. It may be associated with rashes or fevers and may affect various parts of the body.
It is a group of rheumatic diseases that usually affect the spine. There are a few forms:
* Ankylosing spondylitis may also affect the hips, shoulders, and knees. * Reactive arthritis is caused by infection of the lower urinary tract, bowel, or other organ. It is commonly associated with eye problems, skin rashes, and mouth sores. * Psoriatic arthritis is a form of arthritis that occurs in some patients with the skin disorder psoriasis. Psoriatic arthritis often affects the joints at the ends of the fingers and toes and is accompanied by changes in the fingernails and toenails. Back pain may occur if the spine is involved.
It occurs due to inflammation of the bursae (small, fluid-filled sacs that help reduce friction within the joint). Symptoms include pain and tenderness. Movement of nearby joints may also be affected.
The symptoms include widespread muscle pain and tender points—areas on the body that are painful when pushed. Many people also experience fatigue and sleep disturbances.
It involves tendons, muscles, ligaments, and tissues around the joint. Symptoms include pain, aching, and morning stiffness in the shoulders, hips, neck, and lower back. It is sometimes the first sign of giant cell arteritis, a disease of the arteries characterized by headaches, inflammation, weakness, weight loss, and fever.
It causes inflammation and weakness in the muscles. The disease may affect the whole body and cause disability.
It is also known as systemic sclerosis. The disease is caused by excessive production of collagen (a fiber-like protein), leading to thickening of and damage to the skin, blood vessels, joints, and sometimes internal organs such as the lungs and kidneys.
It is also known as lupus or SLE. This disease is caused when the immune system attacks the body's own healthy cells, resulting in inflammation of and damage to the joints, skin, kidneys, heart, lungs, blood vessels, and brain.
Inflammation of tendons (tough cords of tissue that connect muscle to bone). This is caused by overuse, injury, or a rheumatic condition and may restrict movement of nearby joints.
Different types of arthritis and rheumatic diseases have different signs and symptoms. In general, people who have arthritis feel pain and stiffness in one or more joints. There may also be tenderness, warmth, redness in a joint, and/or difficulty using or moving a joint normally.
There are probably many genes that make people more likely to have rheumatic diseases. Some genes have been identified in certain diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile arthritis, and lupus. People with osteoarthritis may have inherited cartilage weakness.
If you have the disease gene, something in your environment may trigger the disease. For example, scientists have found a connection between Epstein-Barr virus and lupus. In addition, repeated joint injury may lead to osteoarthritis.
To diagnosis you with arthritis or another rheumatic disease, your doctor may:
Although there is no cure for arthritis and rheumatic diseases, medications may slow the course of the disease and prevent further damage to joints or other parts of the body. Exercise and diet changes may also help. Surgery may be recommended in some cases.
Physical activity can reduce joint pain and stiffness and increase flexibility, muscle strength, and endurance. Although there is not a specific diet that helps arthritis, a well-balanced diet, along with exercise, helps people manage their body weight and stay healthy.
Doctors who diagnose and treat arthritis and other rheumatic disease include:
There are many things you can do to help you live with arthritis and other rheumatic diseases, including the following:
A joint (joynt) is where two or more bones are joined together. Joints can be rigid, like the joints between the bones in your skull, or movable, like knees, hips, and shoulders. Many joints have cartilage (KAHRT-lij) on the ends of the bones where they come together.
Healthy cartilage helps you move by allowing bones to glide over one another. It also protects bones by preventing them from rubbing against each other.
Keeping your joints healthy will allow you to run, walk, jump, play sports, and do the other things you like to do. Physical activity, a balanced diet, avoiding injuries, and getting plenty of sleep will help you stay healthy and keep your joints healthy too.
Some people get arthritis (ar-THRY-tis). The term arthritis is often used to refer to any disorder that affects the joints. Although you might think arthritis affects only older people, it can affect young people, too. There are many different forms of arthritis:
It is the most common type of arthritis and is seen especially among older people. In osteoarthritis, the surface cartilage in the joints breaks down and wears away, allowing the bones to rub together. This causes pain, swelling, and loss of motion in the joint. Sometimes, it can be triggered by an injury to a joint, such as a knee injury that damages the cartilage.
It is known as an autoimmune (aw-toh-i-MYOON) disease, because the immune system attacks the tissues of the joints as if they were disease-causing germs. This results in pain, swelling, stiffness, and loss of function in the joints. People with rheumatoid arthritis may also feel tired and sick, and they sometimes get fevers. It can cause permanent damage to the joints and sometimes affects the heart, lungs, or other organs.
Gout is a form of arthritis that is caused by a buildup of uric acid crystals in the joints, most commonly in the big toe. It can be extremely painful. There are several effective treatments for gout that can reduce disability and pain.
Juvenile arthritis is a term often used to describe arthritis in children. Children can develop almost all types of arthritis that affect adults, but the most common type that affects children is juvenile idiopathic (id-ee-uh-PATH-ik) arthritis.
Arthritis may be associated with diseases like lupus (LOO-puhs), fibromyalgia (fi-bromy-AL-juh), psoriasis (suh-RYE-uh-sis), or certain infections. In addition, other diseases might affect the bones or muscles around a joint, causing problems in that joint.
Being physically active is one of the most important things you can do to keep your joints healthy. Regular activity helps keep the muscles around your joints strong and working the way they should. Even people who already have arthritis can benefit from regular physical activity, which will help reduce disability and keep the joints working well.
Children and teenagers should get 60 minutes or more of physical activity each day. When exercising or playing sports, be sure to wear the proper protective equipment to avoid injuring your joints. Remember that injuries to your knee early in life can lead to osteoarthritis later on, so be sure to wear protective pads and shoes that fit well.
It's also important to warm up and stretch before exercise. If you have any concerns about your health, talk to your doctor or a physical therapist to find out what kinds of activities are right for you.
Kim's dad is only 43, but he already has arthritis in his knees. He played football and ran track in high school and had a few knee injuries. These are likely to have caused arthritis at a pretty young age. So he reminds Kim to warm up and never to "play through the pain"—no matter what anyone says and to take care of injuries as soon as they happen.
Physical activity, along with a balanced diet, will help you manage your weight. Avoiding excess weight puts less stress on your joints, especially in your knees, hips, and feet. This can help reduce the wear and tear that may lead to arthritis later in life.
Speaking of diet, no specific diet will prevent or cure arthritis. However, eating a balanced diet will help manage your weight and provide a variety of nutrients for overall health. A balanced diet:
Many people take dietary supplements such as glucosamine and chondroitin for joint health. Current research shows that these supplements may not have much benefit for people with osteoarthritis. However, they do seem to reduce moderate or severe osteoarthritis pain in some, but not all, people. There is no evidence that they can prevent any form of arthritis.
Scientists are also researching the effects of other dietary supplements, such as green tea and various vitamins, to see if they can keep your joints healthy. Check with your doctor before taking dietary supplements.
Two Common but Different Conditions
Many people confuse osteoporosis and some types of arthritis. This fact sheet discusses the similarities and differences between these conditions.
Osteoporosis is a condition in which the bones become less dense and more likely to fracture. It can result in a loss of height, severe back pain, and change in one's posture. Osteoporosis can impair a person's ability to walk and can cause prolonged or permanent disability.
Risk factors for developing osteoporosis include:
Osteoporosis is known as a silent disease because it can progress undetected for many years without symptoms until a fracture occurs. Osteoporosis is diagnosed by a bone mineral density test, which is a safe and painless way to detect low bone density.
Although there is no cure for the disease, the Food and Drug Administration has approved several medications to prevent and treat osteoporosis. In addition, a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D, regular weight-bearing exercise, and a healthy lifestyle can prevent or lessen the effects of the disease.
Arthritis is a general term for conditions that affect the joints and surrounding tissues. Joints are places in the body where bones come together, such as the knees, wrists, fingers, toes, and hips. Two common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
As a result, the bones rub together, causing a grating sensation. Joint flexibility is reduced, bony spurs develop, and the joint swells. Usually, the first symptom of OA is pain that worsens following exercise or immobility. Treatment usually includes analgesics, topical creams, or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, appropriate exercises or physical therapy; joint splinting; or joint replacement surgery for seriously damaged larger joints, such as the knee or hip.
This causes pain, swelling, stiffness, malformation, and reduced movement and function. People with RA also may have systemic symptoms, such as fatigue, fever, weight loss, eye inflammation, anemia, subcutaneous nodules (bumps under the skin), or pleurisy (a lung inflammation).
Although osteoporosis and osteoarthritis are two very different medical conditions with little in common, the similarity of their names causes great confusion. These conditions develop differently, have different symptoms, are diagnosed differently, and are treated differently.
Osteoporosis and arthritis do share many coping strategies. In general, exercises that emphasize stretching, strengthening, posture, and range of motion are appropriate. Examples include low-impact aerobics, swimming, tai chi, and low-stress yoga.
However, people with osteoporosis must take care to avoid activities that include bending forward from the waist, twisting the spine, or lifting heavy weights. People with arthritis must compensate for limited movement in affected joints. Always check with your doctor to determine whether a certain exercise or exercise program is safe for your specific medical situation.
Most people with arthritis will use pain management strategies at some time. This is not always true for people with osteoporosis. Usually, people with osteoporosis need pain relief when they are recovering from a fracture. In cases of severe osteoporosis with multiple spine fractures, pain control also may become part of daily life. Regardless of the cause, pain management strategies are similar for people with osteoporosis, OA, and RA.