What is Arthritis, Osteoarthritis and Inflammatory Arthritis

Arthritis is used to describe more than a 100 diseases that are characterized by inflammation, usually of the joints but sometimes in other areas of the body. Inflammation is redness and swelling that can be painful and if it is affecting your joints you can also suffer from stiffness. Inflammation needs to be treated by a doctor and if it is left unchecked you can have irreparable damage that can cause loss of function and even permanent disability.

The condition is broken down into two broad categories osteoarthritis and inflammatory arthritis. Let’s have a look at both to see the difference.


This is by far the more common of the two and it will affect more Americans than all other types of arthritis. People often refer to it as the “wearing out” of your joints. In fact, they are not far off, the Osteoarthritis Research Society defines osteoarthritis as caused by the body’s inability to repair damaged joint tissue. Joint damage often comes with aging but it can also be caused by an old injury.

The cartilage in your joints is a tough elastic material that protects the ends of your bones when it wears out the bone on bone contact is painful. Not only is it painful it causes swelling, affects your range of motion and gives you stiff joints. The joints that are most affected are your knees, hips, hands and in the spine. There are a lot of cause of osteoarthritis besides age it can also happen from obesity, the work you do, the sports you play and your genetics. Knee braces for osteoarthritis are one of the solutions to overcome pain and start the healing process for your joints.

Inflammatory Arthritis

This type of arthritis is different from OA in that it is caused by inflammation rather than your cartilage wearing away. Instead, inflammatory arthritis is considered an autoimmune disease. Autoimmune diseases happen when your body’s immune system, which is there to protect you against disease, attacks healthy tissue instead.

The symptoms of inflammatory arthritis are exactly the same as osteoarthritis and again they include pain, stiffness, and loss of mobility. However inflammatory arthritis sufferers also have fatigue and they can end up with permanent damage to joints and other tissues at a very young age. This type of arthritis can progress fairly quickly and should be seen by a specialist.

There are different variations of inflammatory arthritis include rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, juvenile idiopathic arthritis and lots of others. Conditions like gout and lupus are also considered types of inflammatory arthritis. Some of the types of arthritis affect more than just joints, they are considered systemic diseases since they affect your entire body.

Are You Living with Arthritis?

Living with arthritis isn’t easy even for those that have fairly mild symptoms like sore joints in bad weather. For others, arthritis can mean chronic pain, fatigue, limited mobility and a complete erosion of your quality of life. Arthritis can leave you disabled and unable to work. Arthritis can be a complete interruption of their daily life and constant pain. If you are living with arthritis then speak with your doctor there are new treatments being made available every day to help manage your disease.

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