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Most Common Types of Arthritis

Arthritis is a broad term for a range of conditions affecting the joints of the body. There are many different types of Arthritis. Arthritis causes inflammation, pain, stiffness and damage to the joint cartilage. These symptoms can impact daily life and interfere with activities such as walking, putting on shoes and opening jars.

As the population lives longer, the number of people with arthritis is growing. Although many believe that arthritis is caused mainly by age, this is not always the case. Research has shown that there is a genetic predisposition, as well as many working aged people suffering from arthritis. Early intervention can help to delay the onset of arthritis, however, early diagnosis is important for the best management of the disease.

Symptoms of Arthritis

Each person will experience arthritis differently and symptoms will vary depending on the type of arthritis and the severity. However, the most common symptoms are joint stiffness and pain. Other symptoms may include joint swelling, redness or warmth.

Common Types of Arthritis

While there are many types of arthritis, two of the most common are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis affects around 56% of arthritis sufferers in Australia. Osteoarthritis can develop at any age; however, it is more common in those over the age of 45.

Osteoarthritis Arthritis

Osteoarthritis causes changes to the joint cartilage, ligaments, tendons and bone. The surrounding muscles can also be affected. As this disease progresses sufferers experience pain and loss of movement in the joint. The joint may also experience swelling which can change the appearance of the affected area.

Osteoarthritis can affect any joint, but it most often occurs in the hips, fingers, big toe and knees. Previous injuries or being overweight can increase the risk of developing arthritis in the knees. As a result, arthritis knee treatment can include, and benefit from weight loss. This is also the case with osteoarthritis in the hips.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

The second most common type of arthritis is rheumatoid arthritis. This affects about 14% of sufferers in Australia. Rheumatoid arthritis differs from osteoarthritis as it is an autoimmune disease affecting the whole body. In rheumatoid arthritis, the immune system initiates an abnormal inflammatory response within the body which affects many tissues, including the joints. This causes symptoms such as pain, joint swelling and stiffness.

 

Director & Senior Physiotherapist at Integrity Physiotherapy, Leslie Trigg, has over 13 years of experience in clinical practice. He has graduated with a degree in Human Biology (Anatomy and Physiology) from Curtin University in 2001 and later completed a Masters of Physiotherapy in 2007. He has tremendous experience in musculoskeletal, orthopaedic, neurosurgical and sports physiotherapy. In his spare time, he enjoys swimming, listening to music and spending time with his family.