Everything to Know About Arthritis | A Comprehensive Guide

While most patients associate arthritis disease with pain and inflammation in the joint, it’s crucial to know that it isn’t a single disease affecting millions of people. Rather, arthritis is an umbrella term covering over 100 diseases that can cause pain, swelling, and stiffness. Often, arthritis is accompanied by long-lasting inflammation, leading to damage in the connective tissues.

In this comprehensive guide, we have explained everything patients should know about arthritis. We have covered the different types of arthritis, along with their causes and symptoms, before proceeding to remedial measures. 

What is Arthritis?


Arthritis is a medical condition that causes swelling and discomfort in one or more joints in the body. It mostly affects people over 50 and gradually worsens with age. 

While there are different types of arthritis, osteoarthritis is the most common. In any form, arthritis is diagnosed among 1 in 5 adults who experience some form of this disease, making it an extremely common medical condition.

Arthritis disease significantly deteriorates the quality of life, leading to chronic pain and joint inflammation. 

What causes Arthritis Disease?

Now, let’s understand the factors leading to arthritis disease. The bones of different joints, like knees, are covered by cartilage, a spongy and smooth material. This cartilage reduces friction and enables easy joint movement without pain. The joints in our body are lined by the synovium, which produces a slippery synovial fluid. It reduces friction around the joint, nourishing it properly.

Externally, the strong joint capsule protects this layer, serving as a fibrous casing. Ligaments, which are strong bands of muscle, connect the bones to stabilize joints. Besides, tendons and muscles also support the joints as people move around.

With arthritis disease, the area surrounding the joint gets inflamed, leading to stiffness and pain. It deteriorates the quality of life with long-lasting pain, leading to difficulty in moving. Certain types of arthritis also affect internal organs, skin, and other parts of the body.

What Are the Different Types of Arthritis Diseases?

Let’s take a look at the different types of arthritis disease affecting humans.


The most common type of arthritis disease, Osteoarthritis leads to the wearing away of the cartilage at the ends of bones around joints. This wear and tear results in increased friction against the bones. Patients usually experience pain in their knees, hips, and fingers.

Osteoarthritis is accompanied by the breakdown of cartilages, which often occurs with age. The term ‘degenerative joint disease’ is sometimes used to define osteoarthritis. However, cartilage degeneration may begin much sooner. 

For instance, athletes with ACL injury or a torn ligament or fracture close to a joint are more susceptible to arthritis. Although it can affect any part of the body, the hands and other joints, like the knee, hip, and facet joints in the spine, are more susceptible to the disease.

Common risk factors of osteoarthritis include age, joint injury, genetics, and certain occupations involving repetitive movements of the joints.

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)

rheumatoid arthritis disease

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder where the immune system attacks the synovium, the lining of the joints, by mistake.  This is a long-lasting condition mostly affecting the wrists, knees, and hands. Rheumatoid arthritis causes damage to the bone and cartilage as the inflammation spreads to the nearby tissues. Patients encounter severe joint pain and swelling, and in severe cases, it can spread to other parts of the body, like the eyes, nerves, and the skin.

The rheumatoid arthritis treatment process requires an early diagnosis and aggressive treatment with DMARDs (disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs).

Psoriatic Arthritis Disease

Psoriatic arthritis is a type of inflammatory arthritis disease. It is a skin condition, characterized by red, scaly patches. This type of arthritis can affect the joints, leading to causing pain, stiffness, swelling, and tenderness. Patients with psoriatic arthritis also experience pitting or ridges around the skin, nails, and eyes.

The severity of psoriatic arthritis varies from person to person. Common treatment processes for this disease include controlling inflammation, relieving the arthritis symptoms, and restoring joint functions.

Ankylosing spondylitis

Ankylosing spondylitis commonly affects the spine, leading to pain and inflammation in the vertebrae. This leads to swelling, accompanied by stiffness and reduced mobility around the lower back and buttocks.

Patients with ankylosing spondylitis suffer from limited flexibility of the spine and walk in a stooped posture. It can also affect other parts of the body, such as your eyes, organs, and other joints. Physicians generally recommend medications like TNF inhibitors, exercise, and physical therapy to treat this type of arthritis disease.



Gout is a painful condition resulting from the accumulation of uric acid crystals, which causes excruciating and sudden joint pain. It occurs when the system fails to eliminate uric acid, which is produced in the body. The build-up of excess uric acid leads to the formation of needle-like crystals in the joints, which causes severe pain and swelling. Gout mostly affects the knee, big toe, and wrist joints.

Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis

Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) is a type of arthritis that affects children under 16. Its symptoms include chronic joint inflammation, which leads to pain, swelling, stiffness, and potential joint damage.

Common Arthritis Symptoms

The symptoms of arthritis vary from person to person, depending on the type of the disease affecting the individual. Generally, patients do not experience any symptoms outside the joint in the case of osteoarthritis. Other types of arthritis disease may include symptoms like fever, rash, swelling, pain, joint inflammation, and limited mobility.

Other arthritis symptoms include: 

  • Stiffness
  • Redness
  • Tenderness
  • Deformed joints

How to Treat Arthritis Disease?

treatment arthritis foot

The arthritis treatment process starts with a diagnosis process, followed by pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatment approaches. Initially, the physician will carry out a physical examination to diagnose the issue. Depending on the type of arthritis, the necessary treatment approach is recommended.

Common diagnoses include:

  • Ultrasound
  • X-ray
  • MRI
  • CT Scan
  • Blood tests

These tests enable the physicians to examine the affected joints.

Although there’s no permanent cure for arthritis, doctors prescribe medicines to reduce pain and discomfort. Reputed healthcare institutions treat arthritis in the following ways.

  • Occupational therapy
  • Medicine
  • Surgery
  • Psychotherapeutic strategies

Patients who live with arthritis need to maintain a healthy diet and remain active physically. They also need to protect their affected joints from further damage to manage arthritis. 

Professional Treatment for Arthritis Disease

While arthritis disease makes life miserable with chronic pain, advancements in treatment have revolutionized healthcare. With innovative therapies and effective pain management strategies, top healthcare professionals assure a better quality of lifestyle for patients.

At Santokh Hospital, we holistically treat arthritis patients with early diagnosis and proactive pain management strategies. If you are experiencing arthritis pain, schedule a consultation with us for professional care.