There are two common types of arthritis; these include osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Osteoarthritis: osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis; it is caused by a gradual disintegration of the cartilage that sits between the bones, which causes pain in the joints. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative condition that is commonly associated with the ageing process but it may also be caused by obesity or pressures on the body caused by sporting activities or employment that involves strenuous physical activity.
Rheumatoid arthritis: rheumatoid arthritis is less common but much more serious. This condition occurs when the immune system attacks the joints, causing the cartilage to break down.
Symptoms of arthritis
Common symptoms of arthritis include:
- Limited range of movement in the joints
- Joint pain
- Inflammation around the joints
- Warmth and tenderness around the joints
Treatment for arthritis
Patients with arthritis are treated on an individual basis as each case may cause different symptoms and require different types of treatment. Generally, a combination of medication and physical therapy will be used to treat cases of osteoarthritis; physiotherapy is often used to gradually increase the range of movement around the joints and increase strength and flexibility as well as easing pain. Treatment for rheumatoid arthritis is usually focused on reducing the swelling caused by the condition; this is usually achieved by medication but relaxation therapies and physiotherapy may also be used to improve movement in the joints and release tension. In severe cases of osteoarthritis, surgery may be carried out to repair or replace a damaged joint; this is known as an arthroplasty.