Arthritis means inflammation or swelling of one or more joints. It is a ‘blanket term’ and describes more than 100 conditions that affect the joints, tissues around the joint, and other connective tissues. Specific symptoms vary depending on the type of arthritis, but usually include joint pain and stiffness.
There are three main types, but of course, there are many, many more.
Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis, affecting nearly nine million people in this country, and is more common over forty years of age, and in women.
Some people call it degenerative joint disease or “wear and tear” arthritis. It occurs most frequently in the hands, hips, and knees, but can manifest in any synovial joint, as they are lined with cartilage.
With OA, the cartilage within a joint begins to break down and the underlying bone begins to change. The These changes usually develop slowly and get worse over time. OA can cause pain, stiffness, and swelling. In some cases it also causes reduced function and disability; some people are no longer able to do daily tasks or work.
As OA advances, the changes in the underlying bone can mean that it breaks through the degenerating cartilage, forming osteophytes, resulting in bone resting on bone, increaing pain and further reducing mobility, as muscles, tendons and ligaments need to work harder to orovide the same movement.
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)
Rheumatoid arthritis, or RA, is an autoimmune and inflammatory disease, which means that your immune system attacks healthy cells in your body by mistake, causing inflammation (painful swelling) in the affected parts of the body. RA affects around 400,000 people in the UK, and usually starts between forty and fifty years old.
RA mainly attacks the joints, usually many joints at once. RA commonly affects joints in the hands, wrists, and knees. In a joint with RA, the lining of the joint becomes inflamed, causing damage to joint tissue. This tissue damage can cause long-lasting or chronic pain, unsteadiness (lack of balance), and deformity (misshapenness).
RA can also affect other tissues throughout the body and cause problems in organs such as the lungs, heart, and eyes.
Gout is a common form of inflammatory arthritis that is very painful. It usually affects one joint at a time (often the big toe joint). There are times when symptoms get worse, known as flares, and times when there are no symptoms, known as remission. Repeated bouts of gout can lead to gouty arthritis, a worsening form of arthritis.
Gout is often typified by acute, rapid onset pain, with no apparent cause. ‘Flares’ can last from a day to several weeks and may respond to over-the-counter, anti-infammatory medication or may require a visit to your GP for something stronger. There is no cure for gout, but you can effectively treat and manage the condition with medication and self-management strategies.
Factors influencing gout are –
- being male
- red meat, including offal
- some seafoods including anchovies, sardines, mussels, scalops, trout and tuna
Other forms of arthritis and other related conditions include but are not restricted to –
- ankylosing spondylisis – affects spine
- cervical spondylitis – affects neck
- fibromyalgia – pain in ligaments, tendons and muscles
- lupus – auto-immune condition
- psoriatic arthritis – in those with psoriasis
- enteropathic arthritis – associated with bowel disease
- reactive arthritis – often follows a UTI
- secondary arthritis – arthritis following injury
- polymyalgia rheumatica – auto-immune related
Maidenhead Podiatry can’t treat arthritis but it can help you manage the symptoms, advise on how you can help yourself, and make them easier to live with. So give us a call if you think we can help you.
If you would like more information or to make an appointment with one of our Podiatrists or Chiropractors, email firstname.lastname@example.org call 01628 773588 and speak to one of our friendly reception team.