Arthritis occurs in the body’s joint areas. Inflammation of the joints is a sign of arthritis. There are several different things that can trigger this inflammation. Some of the most common forms of arthritis are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and gout.
Osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage on the bones degenerates or wears away. For this reason, it is also called Degenerative Joint Disease. With this decrease in cartilage, the bones experience more friction and rubbing, leading to swelling and discomfort. This type of arthritis is usually found in the hands, hips and knees.
Rheumatoid arthritis results when the body’s immune system attacks itself and causes the lining in the joints to swell. This swelling can spread to other areas of the body, including cartilage, bone, skin, eyes and nerves. It is most commonly found in the hands, wrists and knees.
Gout is generally located in the wrist, knee and big toe. It occurs when the body is unable to purge uric acid—a natural substance found in the body. Excessive uric acid causes tiny needle-like crystals to form in the joints, causing swelling and intense discomfort. Conservative measures including strengthening, general aerobic fitness, weight loss, and injections can improve function and delay need for joint replacement surgery.
Early diagnosis and treatment of arthritic conditions can provide relief from pain and discomfort and may slow the progression of the disease.