10 Types of Arthritis

Characterizing the Most Common Joint Conditions

Arthritis generally brings to mind joint pain and stiffness, but it can go far beyond these symptoms. The fact is, arthritis refers to hundreds of different joint diseases that affect millions of adults and children in the United States. It’s also the leading cause of disability in North America.

Despite its prevalence, arthritis isn’t completely understood. It can begin unexpectedly, masquerade as other diseases, and defy treatment. Sometimes symptoms are clear and visible (stiff, swollen joints are a hallmark of many types), but often the pain and discomfort won’t show up on the surface of the body.

If you suspect arthritis is the source of your pain, stiffness and inflammation, the first step is a concise and accurate diagnosis. Here are 10 of the most common types of the disease to watch out for.

1. Osteoarthritis

The most common form of arthritis in the world, osteoarthritis (OA) is known as a “wear and tear” disease. It typically targets weight-bearing joints — the feet, knees, hips and spine.

Many people believe OA is just a natural part of getting older. However, that’s not completely accurate. OA can also result from injuries or obesity, both of which put extra strain on your joints.

In OA, the cartilage that caps the bones in a joint begins to break down, so you lose your natural shock absorption. In turn, you start to feel an aching pain in the joint, especially when you move it, and stiffness that’s worse when you wake up in the morning. You might also notice swelling and heat, and your range of motion will decrease.

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