What is Arthritis?
Arthritis is a term often used to mean any disorder that affects joints.
Symptoms generally include joint pain and stiffness. Other symptoms may include redness, warmth, swelling, and reduced range of motion of the affected joint.
There are over 100 types of arthritis, the most common being osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis:
- Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease that results from breakdown of joint cartilage and underlying bone. It usually occurs with age and affects the fingers, knees, and hips.
- Rheumatoid arthritis is an auto-immune disorder that often affects the hands and feet.
Treatment may include:
- Lifestyle changes: weight loss, exercise, and an anti-inflammatory diet have been shown to alleviate arthritis pain.
- Physical therapy has been shown to reduce stiffness, improve the range of motion, and delay the need for surgical intervention in advanced cases.
- Medications: these range from over-the-counter topical and oral medications to more potent prescription drugs.
- Joint replacement surgery in advanced cases.