What is Arthritis?
Arthritis is a disease of the joint. In literal terms, arthritis means “inflammation of a joint” — the structure where the ends of two or more bones meet. For example, the bones of the lower leg (tibia and fibula) and the thighbone (femur) meet at the knee joint. The top of the thighbone (femoral head) meets a concave portion or “socket” of the pelvis (acetabulum) forming the hip joint.
What are the Symptoms of Arthritis?
Whether arthritis is the result of injury, wear and tear, or disease, the affected joint experiences inflammation, swelling, pain, and stiffness. Inflammation is one of the body’s normal reactions to injury or disease; however, in arthritic joints, inflammation may cause long-lasting or permanent disability.
There are more than 100 different forms of arthritis so it is important to be properly diagnosed. If you feel you are suffering from arthritis, please schedule an appointment with TCO today.
Two Major Categories of Arthritis
Osteoarthritis — “Wear and Tear”
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis. It is caused by wear and tear on the articular cartilage, overuse, trauma, or the degeneration of the joint cartilage due to aging. It is mostly found in the weight-bearing joints of the body such as the hip, knee, and spine. Joints used extensively for work or sports or joints damaged from fractures or other injuries can show signs of osteoarthritis. Overload of the articular cartilage may lead to osteoarthritis.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease targeting many parts of the body, but primarily joints. The body’s immune system is designed to create inflammation to attack foreigners to the body such as bacteria and viruses. The immune systems of RA patients, however, causes inflammation of healthy tissues, specifically, the synovial membrane of the joints. Over time, the persistent inflammation breaks down the joint, damaging it permanently, impairing its mobility, and causing pain and deformity.