Arthritis

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Arthritis is a common condition that causes pain and inflammation in joints. It is believed that more than 30 million people suffer with arthritis in America and some 10 million suffer with the disease in the United Kingdom. It is not just the old that suffer arthritis – arthritis affects people of all ages, unfortunately this also includes children.

 

Types of Arthritis This Article Will Cover

 

  • OSTEOARTHRITIS (OA)
  • RHEUMATIOD ARTHRITIS (RA)
  • ANKYLOSINIG SPONDYLITIS (AS)
  • CERVICAL SPONDYLOSIS (NECK)
  • LUMBAR SPONDYLITIS (LOWER BACK)
  • PSORIATIC ARTHRITIS
  • POLYMYALGIA RHEUMATICA
  • FIBROMYALGIA
  • GOUT
  • LUPUS

 

The two most common types of arthritis are Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Osteoarthritis

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Osteoarthritis can affect all joints, the most common joints to be affected appear to be the hip and knee joints. You can read our article on Osteoarthritis of the Hip Joint. All the weight bearing joints are commonly affected by Osteoarthritis, which includes the cervical and lumbar spines. Osteoarthritis is also classed as a wear and tear joint problem or generally an age-related condition. As we get older are weight bearing joints just, simply, wear out.

 

Osteoarthritis – What Is It?

 

Osteoarthritis is a muscular-skeletal, wear and tear condition that affects joints. It is a degenerative, age related condition and is more likely to develop as people get older. It is common in the hips, knees, shoulders, back, wrist, thumbs and fingers.

In most cases, it causes pain and stiffness in the affected joint. It is the most common form of joint problems, not only in the UK (where ATLPhysio are based), but around the world. It is reported that there are about 100 different types of arthritis and related diseases.

 

Who Gets Osteoarthritis?

 

Anyone can get osteoarthritis, but you are more prone to develop osteoarthritis if:

  • You are over 50, you can develop OA at an earlier age even at 40 to 45 years of age.
  • If you are overweight.
  • Genetics may play a part for people developing osteoarthritis.
  • Having a job that puts excessive stress on joints.
  • Past joint injury.

 

What are the Symptoms of an Osteoarthritic Joint?

 

Due to the loss of joint space and the loss of cartilage on the joint surface, this causes friction and irritation of the joint surfaces around the joint, which results in a mild inflammatory reaction. This inflammatory reaction is the body’s own self-healing and repair mechanism. Osteophytes develop around the joints and with the loss of joint space this leads to the joint stiffness, joint pain and difficulties with certain activities and movement.

The symptoms of an arthritic joint which may have several can include some or all of these;

 

  • Pain
  • Stiffness
  • Crepitus – describes any grinding, grating, creaking sound from a joint.
  • Loss of range of motion.
  • Loss of muscle strength.

 

Common Joints Affected By Osteoarthritis

 

  • Knee
  • Hip
  • Hand
  • Back
  • Neck
  • Foot

 

Stages of Osteoarthritis of the Knee and Hip

 

Stage 1 – Early stage

 

During the early stage, intermittent aches and pains are common. Sometimes the aches and pains last a few days, and later, longer periods of aches and pains develop. The knee joint may swell and feel stiff for a while before feeling more comfortable and the swelling disappearing.

 

Stage 2 – Mid stage

 

The intermittent aches and pains continue but get more frequent as the arthritis progresses.

 

Stage 3 – Advanced stage

 

Constant aches and pains, which will need to be coupled with an increase in pain relief medication. Swollen, hot joint becoming even stiffer to move with less range of movement. It gives a sensation of instability – for instance, the knee wanting to give way.