Arthritis, in simple terms, refers to the inflammation of a joint. It is the damage to the cartilage that is present near the joints, which acts as a shock absorber. People suffering from arthritis experience severe pain in the joints, and in extensive cases, it can even immobilize the joint.
Types of Arthritis
- Osteoarthritis: It is the most common type of arthritis, and is commonly referred to as Degenerative Joint Disease. It mostly affects elderly people as the cartilage that supports the joints wear away with time, leaving the bones to rub against each other near the joints. The constant bone-to-bone contact would be very painful, which may also lead to a bone spur.
- Rheumatoid arthritis: Mostly found in middle-aged women, rheumatoid arthritis is an auto-immune disease that occurs due to a malfunction of the body’s immune system. The cells that protect the body from pathogens attack the healthy tissues of the body, including the joints. This can cause an inflammation in the joints, leading to pain, stiffness, swelling, and immobility of the joints.
- Psoriatic arthritis: People with a history of psoriasis, a skin disorder characterized by scaling and redness, may suffer from this particular type of arthritis. The joints in the fingers and toes suffer the effects of this disease.
- Post-traumatic arthritis: As the name suggests, post-traumatic arthritis occurs in people who have been involved in an external trauma. The symptoms of the disease may be felt several years of the incident as well.
What are the causes and symptoms of arthritis?
Arthritis is caused by the wearing out of the cartilage that is present in between the joints. The most common causes of it are excessive wear over prolonged periods of time, injuries, genetic disorders, build up of uric acid crystals in the joints, malfunctioning immune system, etc.
The symptoms include swelling, stiffness, pain, tenderness and limited motion of the joints. Sometimes, the patient could also develop skin infections such as redness and rashes.
As an initial treatment of arthritis, your doctor would recommend resting and avoiding lifting weights. Anti-inflammatory medicine may also be suggested to reduce the swelling and to provide a slight relief from the pain. Physiotherapy can be very helpful for arthritis patients as it alleviates the pain and restores the normal functioning of the joint.
In severe cases of arthritis where no form of treatment is helping the patient overcome their pain, a surgery may be recommended to help the patient regain mobility in the joint. Some of the surgical processes are Synovectomy (removing the inflamed tissue that’s lining the joint) and Anthroplasty or joint replacement surgery (the affected joint is replaced by an artificial implant.