Talk To ApolloSage Hospital On Social Media:

Helpline No. : 0755-3505050


Understanding Arthritis: Symptoms, Causes, Types and Treatment Options

Understanding Arthritis: Symptoms, Causes, Types and Treatment Options

What Is Arthritis?

Arthritis is a health condition that causes pain, swelling, and stiffness in the joints. Imagine your joints are like the hinges on a door. Arthritis is like when those hinges get rusty or worn out, making it harder for the door to open smoothly. Similarly, in arthritis, the cartilage (the smooth, cushioning tissue) in the joints wears down over time, causing friction between the bones and making movement painful and difficult. Arthritis can affect people of all ages and backgrounds and can make everyday activities like walking, bending, or even holding objects challenging.

What are the symptoms of arthritis?

Here are more details about the symptoms of arthritis:

  • Joint Pain: Arthritis typically causes pain in the affected joints. The joint pain may be dull or sharp and can vary in intensity from mild to severe. It may be constant or come and go in episodes, known as flare-ups. The pain may be exacerbated by certain activities, such as standing, walking, or using the affected joint for prolonged periods.
  • Stiffness: Stiffness is a common symptom of arthritis, especially in the morning or after periods of inactivity. Joints affected by arthritis may feel stiff and difficult to move, particularly upon waking up or after sitting for long periods. This stiffness may gradually improve with movement but can persist throughout the day, especially during flare-ups.
  • Swelling: Inflammation of the joints can lead to swelling, which may cause the affected joints to appear larger or feel tender to the touch. Swelling occurs as a result of increased fluid accumulation and inflammation in the joint capsule and surrounding tissues.
  • Decreased Range of Motion: Arthritis can limit the ability to move the affected joints through their full range of motion. As the disease progresses, joint stiffness and inflammation can further restrict movement, making it difficult to perform everyday activities such as bending, reaching, or lifting.
  • Fatigue: Chronic pain and inflammation associated with arthritis can lead to fatigue or a general feeling of tiredness. Fatigue may result from the body's response to ongoing inflammation, disrupted sleep patterns due to pain, or the physical and emotional toll of living with a chronic condition.
  • Weakness: Muscle weakness may develop around the affected joints, particularly if movement is limited due to pain or stiffness. Weakness can further impair joint function and stability, leading to difficulty with activities that require strength, such as lifting objects or climbing stairs.
  • Warmth: Inflammatory arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis, may cause warmth or heat around the affected joints. Increased blood flow to inflamed tissues can result in localized warmth or a sensation of heat in the affected area.
  • Difficulty with Daily Activities: Arthritis can interfere with daily activities and tasks that involve the affected joints. Simple activities such as walking, standing, or gripping objects may become challenging due to pain, stiffness, or reduced range of motion.
  • Joint Deformities: In advanced stages or certain types of arthritis, joint deformities may develop. These deformities can include changes in joint shape, such as swelling, knobby finger joints (known as Heberden's nodes or Bouchard's nodes), or misalignment of bones within the joint.
  • Systemic Symptoms: Some types of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus, can cause symptoms that affect the entire body, known as systemic symptoms. These may include fever, weight loss, loss of appetite, and a general feeling of malaise or unwellness.

What causes arthritis?

Arthritis can have various causes depending on the type of arthritis. Below are several typical causes and risk factors linked to various forms of arthritis.

1.    Osteoarthritis (OA):


  • Age: Osteoarthritis is more common with aging, as wear and tear on the joints over time can lead to degeneration of the cartilage.
  • Joint Injury or Overuse: Previous joint injuries, such as fractures or ligament tears, or repetitive stress on the joints from activities like sports or manual labor can increase the risk of osteoarthritis.
  • Obesity: Being overweight or obese can put extra strain on the joints, particularly weight-bearing joints like the knees, hips, and spine, increasing the risk of osteoarthritis.
  • Genetics: There may be a genetic predisposition to osteoarthritis, as certain genetic factors can influence the development of joint degeneration.

2.    Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA):


  • Autoimmune Response: Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease in which the body's immune system mistakenly attacks the synovium, the lining of the joints. This leads to inflammation, joint damage, and systemic symptoms.
  • Genetics: Family history of rheumatoid arthritis or certain genetic markers can increase the risk of developing the disease.
  • Environmental Triggers: Environmental factors such as smoking, exposure to certain infections, or hormonal changes may trigger the onset of rheumatoid arthritis in susceptible individuals.

3.    Gout:


  • High Uric Acid Levels: Gout is caused by the buildup of uric acid crystals in the joints, which occurs when there are high levels of uric acid in the blood (hyperuricemia). This can be due to overproduction of uric acid by the body or decreased excretion of uric acid by the kidneys.
  • Dietary Factors: Consuming foods high in purines, such as red meat, organ meats, seafood, and alcohol, can increase uric acid levels and the risk of gout attacks.
  • Obesity: Being overweight or obese can increase the risk of gout by promoting the production of uric acid and reducing its excretion by the kidneys.

4.    Psoriatic Arthritis:


  • Autoimmune Response: Psoriatic arthritis is an autoimmune condition that occurs in some people with psoriasis, a skin condition characterized by red, scaly patches. The immune system attacks healthy joint tissue, leading to inflammation and joint damage.
  • Genetics: Family history of psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis can increase the risk of developing the condition.
  • Environmental Factors: Environmental triggers such as infections, injuries, or stress may play a role in triggering psoriatic arthritis flare-ups.

5.    Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS):


  • Genetics: Ankylosing spondylitis has a strong genetic component, with certain genetic markers such as the HLA-B27 gene associated with an increased risk of the disease.
  • Environmental Factors: Environmental triggers such as infections may play a role in triggering the onset of ankylosing spondylitis in genetically susceptible individuals.
  • Inflammatory Response: Ankylosing spondylitis is characterized by inflammation of the spine and sacroiliac joints, although the exact cause of this inflammatory response is not fully understood.

6.    Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA):


  • Autoimmune Response: Juvenile idiopathic arthritis is believed to result from an autoimmune response in which the body's immune system attacks healthy joint tissue, leading to inflammation and joint damage.
  • Genetics: Certain genetic factors may increase the risk of developing juvenile idiopathic arthritis, although the exact genes involved are not well understood.
  • Environmental Triggers: Environmental factors such as infections, trauma, or hormonal changes may trigger the onset of juvenile idiopathic arthritis in susceptible individuals.

What are the type of arthritis?

Arthritis is a broad term that encompasses over 100 different types of joint diseases and conditions. The most common types of arthritis include:

Osteoarthritis (OA):

Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis, often referred to as "wear-and-tear" arthritis. It occurs when the protective cartilage that cushions the ends of the bones wears down over time, leading to pain, stiffness, and decreased mobility in the affected joints. Osteoarthritis commonly affects weight-bearing joints such as the knees, hips, and spine, as well as joints in the hands and fingers.

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA):

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease in which the body's immune system mistakenly attacks the synovium, the lining of the joints. This results in chronic inflammation, joint pain, swelling, and eventual joint damage. Rheumatoid arthritis can affect multiple joints throughout the body, including the hands, wrists, elbows, knees, and feet. It can additionally lead to systemic manifestations like tiredness, elevated body temperature, and reduction in body weight.


Gout, an inflammatory type of arthritis, occurs due to the accumulation of uric acid crystals within the joints. It typically affects the big toe, but can also affect other joints such as the ankles, knees, elbows, wrists, and fingers. Gout attacks are characterized by sudden and severe pain, swelling, redness, and warmth in the affected joint. Gout is frequently linked to lifestyle elements such as dietary choices, alcohol intake, and obesity.

Psoriatic Arthritis:

Psoriatic arthritis is a type of inflammatory arthritis that occurs in some people with psoriasis, a chronic skin condition characterized by red, scaly patches. Psoriatic arthritis can affect any joint in the body, including the spine, fingers, toes, knees, and ankles. In addition to joint pain, swelling, and stiffness, psoriatic arthritis can also cause nail changes, eye inflammation, and skin lesions.

Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS):

Ankylosing spondylitis is a type of inflammatory arthritis that primarily affects the spine and sacroiliac joints, causing chronic pain, stiffness, and limited mobility. Additionally, it has the potential to impact various other joints including the hips, knees, and shoulders. Ankylosing spondylitis is characterized by inflammation of the spinal vertebrae, which can lead to fusion of the joints and loss of flexibility in the spine. It is often associated with the HLA-B27 genetic marker.

Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA):

Juvenile idiopathic arthritis is a group of chronic inflammatory joint diseases that affect children under the age of 16. It is characterized by joint pain, swelling, stiffness, and loss of mobility. There are several subtypes of juvenile idiopathic arthritis, including oligoarticular JIA, polyarticular JIA, systemic JIA, enthesitis-related arthritis, and psoriatic JIA. The exact cause of juvenile idiopathic arthritis is unknown, but it is believed to involve a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

Treatment of Arthritis

The treatment of arthritis aims to alleviate symptoms, slow the progression of the disease, improve joint function, and enhance overall quality of life. The specific treatment approach depends on the type of arthritis, severity of symptoms, individual health factors, and treatment goals.

Here are common treatment strategies for arthritis:


  • Pain Relievers: Over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or naproxen (Aleve) can help reduce pain and inflammation associated with arthritis.
  • Disease-Modifying Antirheumatic Drugs (DMARDs): For inflammatory types of arthritis such as rheumatoid arthritis, DMARDs such as methotrexate, sulfasalazine, or hydroxychloroquine may be prescribed to slow disease progression and prevent joint damage.
  • Biologic Response Modifiers: Biologic medications, such as tumor necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitors, interleukin inhibitors, or Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitors, may be used to target specific components of the immune system involved in inflammatory arthritis.
  • Corticosteroids: Corticosteroid medications may be used to reduce inflammation and relieve pain in acute flare-ups of arthritis. They can be taken orally, injected directly into the affected joint, or applied topically as creams or ointments.

Physical Therapy:
Physical therapy can help improve joint flexibility, strength, and range of motion through targeted exercises and stretching techniques. A physical therapist can develop a customized exercise program tailored to the individual's specific needs and abilities.

Occupational Therapy
Occupational therapy focuses on adapting daily activities and routines to accommodate arthritis-related limitations and maximize independence. An occupational therapist can provide guidance on ergonomic tools, assistive devices, and adaptive techniques to make tasks easier and reduce joint strain.

Lifestyle Modifications
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can help manage arthritis symptoms and improve overall well-being. This includes maintaining a balanced diet, maintaining a healthy weight, staying physically active with low-impact exercises such as swimming or cycling, and practicing stress-reduction techniques such as meditation or yoga.

Joint Protection Techniques
Implementing joint protection strategies can help reduce strain on affected joints and minimize pain. This may include using assistive devices such as braces, splints, or orthotics, modifying activities to reduce repetitive stress on the joints, and practicing proper body mechanics and posture.

Surgical Interventions
In severe cases of arthritis with significant joint damage and functional impairment, surgical interventions may be considered. Options include joint replacement surgery, such as total knee replacement or hip replacement, to replace damaged joints with artificial implants and restore mobility and function.

Complementary and Alternative Therapies
Some people find relief from arthritis symptoms through complementary and alternative therapies such as acupuncture, massage therapy, herbal supplements, or dietary supplements like glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate. It's essential to discuss these options with a healthcare provider to ensure they are safe and effective for individual needs.

Medication Management
Regular monitoring and adjustment of medication regimens are important for managing arthritis symptoms and minimizing side effects. Healthcare providers may periodically review medication use, assess treatment efficacy, and make adjustments as needed to optimize outcomes.

Call Us Now+91 9303972510 Book Appointment

Request A Call Back