Arthritis : A condition that impacts the bones and joints


One or more joints may enlarge and become painful due to arthritis. The primary indications and symptoms of arthritis are joint pain and stiffness, which frequently become worse with age. The two most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Osteoarthritis leads to the breakdown of cartilage which is the firm, slick tissue that covers the ends of bones where they come together to create a joint. In the illness known as rheumatoid arthritis, the immune system assaults the joints, starting with the lining of the joints.

Gout may result from uric acid crystal formation, which happens when blood uric acid levels are too high. Other forms of arthritis can be brought on by infections or underlying conditions like psoriasis or lupus.

The type of arthritis that is being treated varies. The aim of treatments for arthritis is to reduce symptoms and improve the quality of life for patients.

There are different types of arthritis, including:

  • Ankylosing spondylitis
  • Gout
  • Juvenile idiopathic arthritis
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Psoriatic arthritis
  • Reactive arthritis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Septic arthritis
  • Thumb arthritis


Joint deterioration occurs differently in osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis which are the two primary kinds of arthritis.


The cartilage in a joint is subjected to wear and strain, which results in osteoarthritis, the most common kind of arthritis. This is the tough, slippery coating on the ends of bones where they form a joint. When cartilage is sufficiently worn down, bone can rub up against bone, which is painful and restricts movement. Bone ends are cushioned by cartilage, which also eliminates friction during joint action. This decline may occur gradually over a long period of time or may be accelerated by an illness or joint injury.

The connective tissues that connect muscle to bone and keep the joint together are also harmed by osteoarthritis, which also affects the bones. If the cartilage in the joint is seriously damaged, the lining of the joint may swell and become inflammatory.

 Rheumatoid arthritis

The strong membrane that surrounds all the joint pieces, the joint capsule, is attacked by the body's immune system in rheumatoid arthritis. This lining (synovial membrane) swells and becomes irritated. Bone and cartilage in the joint may eventually be destroyed by the illness process.

How to check if you have Arthritis?

Doctors examine your joints during an initial appointment to look for edoema, redness, and warmth. They will also check to see how well your joints can move.

The sort of arthritis you may have can be determined by analysing several bodily fluid types. Blood, urine, and joint fluid are among the fluids that are frequently studied.

These tests can find issues within the joint that may be the source of your medical issues. These types of tests can include:

  • X-Ray
  • CT
  • MRI
  • Ultrasound

Risk Factors

Arthritis risk factors include:

Family background. Arthritis can be hereditary and there is a greater chance of you having arthritis if previously a family member has had it.

Age. Age increases the likelihood of developing several forms of arthritis, such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and gout.

Your gender. A greater number of women tend to have rheumatoid arthritis than men, but gout is more common in males.

Prior joint damage. People are more likely to subsequently develop arthritis in a damaged joint, maybe from engaging in sports.

Obesity. Your knees, hips, and spine are particularly strained when you carry extra weight. Obesity increases your risk of getting arthritis. 


The joints are where arthritis is most frequently found. 

Signs and symptoms of various types of arthritis may include:

  • Pain
  • Stiffness
  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Reduced inability to move


Be mindful of your joints when exercising, sitting, or standing.

Maintain joint motion. Do mild daily stretches that extend the range of motion in your joints.

Use good posture. You may learn the proper ways to sit, stand, and move from a physical therapist.

Know your boundaries. Do not overexert yourself and strike a balance between work and rest. Changes in lifestyle are also crucial for reducing pain.

Manage your weight. Being overweight can exacerbate arthritis issues and make it more painful. Most generally, the best way to control weight is to make small, long-term lifestyle adjustments that lead to steady weight loss.

Give up smoking. Smoking adds stress to connective tissues, which can lead to excessive discomfort for patients.


Although arthritis cannot be cured, there are several therapies that can help it progress more slowly.

Treatments for osteoarthritis include dietary adjustments, medications, and surgery.

Rheumatoid arthritis treatment aims to reduce joint inflammation and prevent the disease from rapidly progressing. Joint injuries are less likely as a result.

Medicine, physiotherapy, and surgery are all forms of treatment.


Depending on the kind of arthritis, different drugs are used to treat it. Typical treatments for arthritis include:

NSAIDs. NSAIDs, or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines, can decrease inflammation and alleviate pain.

Counterirritants. Some creams and ointments have menthol or capsaicin.

Steroids. Prednisone and other corticosteroid drugs lessen pain and inflammation while also slowing joint deterioration.


Some kinds of arthritis might benefit from physical therapy. Exercise can strengthen the muscles around joints and increase the range of motion. Splints or braces could be necessary for specific circumstances.


If non-surgical options are unsuccessful, doctors may recommend surgery, such as:

Joint restoration In certain cases, joint surfaces can be straightened or smoothed down to lessen discomfort and enhance functionality.

Joint reconstruction The damaged joint is removed during this treatment, and a synthetic one is put in its place. The joints that require replacement the most frequently are the hips and knees.

Joint fusion. Smaller joints like those in the fingers, wrist, and ankle are the ones that this surgery is utilised on the most frequently. For the two bones to heal into a single, rigid piece, the ends of the two bones in the joint are chopped off and fused together.

Complications of Arthritis

If arthritis gets steadily worse, it can make daily tasks very difficult for a patient. You may find it challenging to carry out daily duties if you have severe arthritis, especially if it affects your hands or arms. Weight-bearing joint arthritis might make it difficult for you to sit up straight or walk comfortably. Joints can lose their alignment and become looser over time.


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Page last reviewed: Mar 6, 2023

Next review due: Mar 6, 2025

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