Arthritis: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment

Arthritis is a condition that causes inflammation of the joints. It can be caused by a number of different things, such as infection, injury, or the wear and tear on joints over time. It occurs when the protective cartilage on the ends of bones wears away, causing pain and swelling.

There are over 100 types of arthritis, but osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are the most common form. Osteoarthritis is more common in people who are middle-aged or older and usually affects joints in your hands, spine, hips, knees, and feet. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that can cause pain and swelling in multiple joints throughout the body.


Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease that is characterized by the breakdown of cartilage and bone. It is the most common form of arthritis, affecting 30% of people over the age of 65. The causes are not well understood, but it is believed that genetics and environmental factors contribute to its development.

Osteoarthritis is a common type of arthritis that affects the joints. Osteoarthritis is caused due to wear and tear of the cartilage and inflammation in the joint. The most common areas where osteoarthritis occurs are hips, hands, knees, feet and spine.

Osteoarthritis can occur due to age, injury, obesity, or overuse. It can also happen if there is an underlying condition such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus erythematosus.

Rheumatoid arthritis:

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic condition that affects the joints and surrounding tissues. The inflammation can lead to pain and stiffness in the joint, loss of function, and deformity. It can also affect other organs in the body

The cause of rheumatoid arthritis is unknown, but it is most likely caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. There is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis, but there are treatments to help control symptoms such as pain, swelling, and stiffness.

Signs and Symptoms

Arthritis is a disease that affects joints and the surrounding tissue. The symptoms of arthritis are not always the same in every patient.

Some people with arthritis may experience symptoms like:

  1. Pain: Pain is the most common symptom of arthritis and can be caused by a number of factors including inflammation, injury, or disease.
  2. Swelling: Swelling occurs when fluid collects around a joint or tissue which can make it difficult for a person to move their joint or function normally.
  3. Stiffness: Stiffness is caused by muscles tightening around a joint which can make movement very difficult and painful as well as cause other symptoms like swelling and pain to worsen.
  4. Numbness: Numbness is often caused by lack of blood flow to an area which can lead to decreased sensation in that area such as feeling cold or tingling sensations in hands, feet, legs, fingers, toes etc., numbness may also be due to nerve damage from arthritis.

There are many different types of arthritis that affect people differently but may produce similar symptoms like:

  • Pain
  • Ice pick-like stabbing sensations
  • Tingling sensations

The most common type of arthritis is osteoarthritis which is caused by wear and tear on the joints over time from things such as age or repetitive use/stress.

Causes and Risk factors

Arthritis is a condition in which the joints become inflamed and painful. There are many different types of arthritis, but the most common are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and gout.

The causes and risk factors for arthritis are not yet well-known, but some factors that have been identified are obesity, smoking, aging, joint injuries or surgeries, and genetics.

Risk factors for arthritis include:

  • Genetics: Some types of arthritis run in families, so you may be more likely to develop arthritis if your parents or siblings have the disorder.
  • Age: The risk of many types of arthritis — including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and gout — increases with age.
  • Sex: Women are more likely than men to develop rheumatoid arthritis, while most of the people who have gout, another type of arthritis, are men.
  • Joint injuries or surgeries: People who have injured a joint, perhaps while playing a sport, are more likely to eventually develop arthritis in that joint.
  • Obesity: Carrying excess pounds puts stress on joints, particularly your knees, hips and spine. People with obesity have a higher risk of developing arthritis.
  • Smoking: Smoking is a risk factor for arthritis because it causes inflammation in the body which leads to joint pain. Smoking also increases the effects of other factors that can cause arthritis such as age, weight, and genetics.


Complications of arthritis are often caused by an infection in the joint or from an injury to the joint. The complications of arthritis are different for everyone. Some people may not have any complications at all while others may have many complications or chronic conditions that affect their day-to-day lives. Complication can also be caused by a lack of movement in a joint.


Arthritis is a disorder where inflammation and pain in joints occurs. The prevalence of arthritis is increasing in the world. It is estimated that by 2030, there will be approximately 1.5 billion people with arthritis. There are many ways to diagnose arthritis, but the most common diagnosis methods are blood test, X-ray, Ct scan and MRI scan.

CT scan: CT scans are often used to diagnose arthritis, because it is difficult to tell if someone has arthritis by looking at their joints. The goal of this test is to find out if there are any changes in your joints that might be caused by arthritis, such as swelling or bone damage.

MRI scan: An MRI scan is a diagnostic test that uses magnetic fields and radio waves to create detailed images of the body’s internal structures. MRI scans are often used to diagnose arthritis, especially in the knee. It can produce more-detailed cross-sectional images of soft tissues such as cartilage, tendons and ligaments.

X-rays: The X-ray is a medical imaging technique used to make images of the inside of the body. It uses a small amount of radiation to create images of bones, organs, blood vessels and other tissues. They can show cartilage loss, bone damage or bone spurs which may indicate the severity of an already existing disease.

Ultrasound: Ultrasound is a technology used to image ‘soft tissues, cartilage, and fluid-containing structures near the joints. It does this by using high-frequency sound waves. Ultrasound is also used to guide needle placement for removing joint fluid or injecting meds directly into the joint.

The diagnosis of arthritis is typically based on physical exam findings, medical history and imaging. A doctor may order certain tests such as blood work or x-rays depending on the symptoms.


Arthritis is a chronic disease that can be caused by various factors. It can affect any joint in the body and cause pain, swelling, and stiffness. There are many treatment options for arthritis that depend on the type of arthritis, severity of symptoms, and other factors. Treatment may include medication or non-medication options like physical therapy.


There are many medications available for arthritis that can help control the pain and inflammation of joints. Some medications are prescribed by a doctor while others are available over-the-counter (OTC).

The most commonly prescribed medication for arthritis is anti-inflammatory drugs such as:

  • Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB) or
  • Naproxen sodium (Aleve)

These drugs reduce swelling and pain by blocking the release of chemicals in your body called prostaglandins.

Other types of drugs prescribed for relief from arthritis symptoms include:

  • Capsaicin Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs)
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen sodium or other similar medications
  • Antimalarial medications- Antiemetics Steroids Acetaminophen or paracetamol (Tylenol) is the most commonly used drug for pain relief.


There are many non-medication treatments for arthritis. Non-medication options include:

  • Exercise programs to strengthen joints and maintain range of motion
  • Relaxation techniques to reduce stress and anxiety
  • Massage therapy to improve circulation in the joints
  • Weight loss if overweight or obese to decrease stress on joints from excess pounds
  • Physical therapy
  • Natural remedies
  • Acupuncture
  • Yoga


Arthritis is a condition that affects the joints. It is an inflammation of the joint lining and cartilage which can cause pain, stiffness, and swelling.

Arthritis affects millions of people around the world. It is most common in adults but can also affect children. The symptoms will vary from person to person, depending on their age and the type of arthritis they have.

The doctor may want you to have this test if you have symptoms such as pain in your joints, especially in your hands or wrists; stiffness in your joints; and difficulty moving your joints.