Arthritis is a common condition that causes pain and inflammation in a joint.
Types of arthritis
The two most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Osteoarthritis initially affects the smooth cartilage lining of the joint. This makes movement more difficult than usual, leading to pain and stiffness.
The cartilage lining of the joint can then thin and tissues within the joint can become more active. This can then lead to swelling and the formation of bony spurs, called osteophytes. In osteoarthritis, the cartilage (connective tissue) between the bones gradually erodes, causing bone in the joints to rub together. The joints that are most commonly affected are those in the hands, spine, knees and hips.
Symptoms of arthritis
The symptoms of arthritis you experience will vary depending on the type you have.
This is why it’s important to have an accurate diagnosis if you have:
- joint pain, tenderness and stiffness
- inflammation in and around the joints
- restricted movement of the joints
- warm, red skin over the affected joint
- weakness and muscle wasting
When to seek medical advice
You should see your GP if you have persistent symptoms of osteoarthritis so they can try to identify the cause.
To help determine whether you have osteoarthritis, your GP will ask you about your symptoms and examine your joints.