Arthritis and Inflammation of Joints

General or Other | Rheumatology | Arthritis and Inflammation of Joints (Disease)


Arthritis is a form of joint disorder that involves inflammation of one or more joints. The most common form, osteoarthritis (degenerative joint disease), is a result of trauma to the joint, infection of the joint, or age. Other arthritis forms are rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, gout, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (in children), scleroderma, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and other related autoimmune diseases.

Arthritis causes joint pain, swelling, stiffness, and limited movement. Symptoms can include: jint pain, jint swelling, reduced ability to move the joint; redness of the skin around a joint, stiffness, especially in the morning, warmth around a joint, malaise and a feeling of tiredness, fever; weight loss, poor sleep, muscle aches and pains, tenderness. Some types of arthritis may cause joint deformity. This may be a sign of severe, untreated rheumatoid arthritis.

Causes and Risk factors

Septic arthritis is caused by joint infection. Joint inflammation may result from: an autoimmune disease (the bodys immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissue); broken bone; general wear and tear on joints; infection, usually by bacteria or virus.

Joint pain can also be a symptom of other diseases. In this case, the arthritis is considered to be secondary to the main disease; these include: Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome; Familial Mediterranean fever; Hemochromatosis; Henoch-Schönlein purpura; Hepatitis; Inflammatory bowel disease (Including Crohns Disease and Ulcerative Colitis); Lyme disease; Psoriasis (Psoriatic arthritis); Sarcoidosis or Wegeners granulomatosis (and other vasculitis syndromes).

Diagnosis and Treatment

Blood tests and joint X-rays are often done to check for infection and other causes of arthritis.

The goal of treatment is to reduce pain, improve function, and prevent further joint damage. The underlying cause cannot usually be cured. Treatment options vary depending on the type of arthritis and include physical therapy, lifestyle changes (including exercise and weight control), orthopedic bracing, medications. Joint replacement surgery may be required in eroding forms of arthritis. ...