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What is Arthritis?

Did you know there are over 100 different types of arthritis? Arthritis is an inflammation of the joints that can take several forms:  

  • Osteoarthritis is the most common type.  It is the "wear and tear" and breakdown of the cartilage within the joint.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that targets the lining of the joints. 
  • Gout arthritis is cause by too much uric acid in the blood and can cause pain, stiffness, and swelling of a joint. 
  • Psoriatic arthritis is an inflammatory arthritis that can affect people with psoriasis. 

Arthritis can also be caused by prior injury, especially breaks in the bones of a joint, or could have developed based on how the joints formed during childhood.  

Symptoms of arthritis can include:

  • Joint pain
  • Joint stiffness
  • Decreased motion
  • Swelling in the joint
  • Difficulty walking, going up and down stairs, squatting, or kneeling

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis in the knee.

  • Cartilage is the smooth shock absorbing Teflon-like covering on the ends of the bone
  • Inflammation results in a destruction of the cartilage
  • Damaged cartilage allows the rough bones on either side of the joint to rub against each together causing pain and restricted motion

Diagnosis is made by your physician based on a physical examination and x-rays. The doctor is looking for pain or swelling around the joint, grating or crunching in the joint, or decreased motion. 

Medical drawing depicting a healthy knee joint vs a knee joint afflicted with osteoarthritis.