What Is Arthritis? Symptoms, Causes, & Treatment Of Arthritis

What Is Arthritis? Symptoms, Causes, & Treatment Of Arthritis
10 Jun 2022
9 mins
Table Of Content
What Is Arthritis? Symptoms, Causes, & Treatment Of Arthritis

    Sometimes all of us feel pain in the joints. We assume ourselves with reasons for pain. Don’t ignore if the pain persists, even if it is milder or if you have unexplained swelling in the joints. Let’s look into what is arthritis, its symptoms, causes, and treatment.


    What Is Arthritis?


    Arthritis is a disease which affects the joints and causes inflammation and pain. There are more than a hundred types of arthritis. The common parts of the body which get affected are knees, hips, feet, hands and lower back. 


    The common types of arthritis are rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. The other types of arthritis are ankylosing spondylitis, juvenile arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, reactive arthritis, and gout. Arthritis commonly affects older adults, but it can also affect people of all ages.


    What Are The Symptoms Of Arthritis?


    The symptoms depend on the type of arthritis you have. The common symptoms include:


    • Pain, swelling, and redness in the joints
    • Stiffness
    • Decreased range of motion
    • Fever
    • Rash or itch


    The symptoms can be mild or severe. People with severe arthritis can find it difficult to perform daily tasks. If weight-bearing joints get affected, it can make it difficult to walk comfortably or sit up straight. Some of the other daily tasks that many people with arthritis report ‘very difficult’ are:


    • Pull or push a heavy object
    • Bend, stoop, or kneel
    • Lift or carry as much as 5 kgs
    • Grasp small objects
    • Reach above one’s hand
    • Climbing stairs without resting
    • Sit or stand for about two hours


    Some people with arthritis may feel worse with certain types of weather. Cold and humidity are common triggers of joint pain. Discomfort and pain can be overwhelming, and some people avoid optional activities such as socializing or going to temples. 


    What Causes Arthritis?


    Different types of arthritis have different causes. 


    Osteoarthritis occurs due to overuse or wear and tear of the joints over time. The ends of the bones within joints are lined with cartilage (layer of tissue) which cushions them and ease with frictionless motion. Wear and tear, joint injury or infection can damage the cartilage leading to pain and restricted movement. 


    In rheumatoid arthritis, our immune system mistakenly attacks the joints. Joints are surrounded by a thick fluid called synovial fluid which holds the bones in place. The lining (synovial membrane) of the joint becomes inflamed and swollen in rheumatoid arthritis. This damage can spread across the joint and cause bone and cartilage to break. 


    Build up of too much uric acid in the body (gout), infections or underlying diseases such as lupus or psoriasis can cause other types of arthritis. 


    Some behavior or characteristics can increase the likelihood of developing certain types of arthritis. These are called risk factors:


    • Excess weight and obesity – Overweight puts stress on your joints, especially weight-bearing joints like knees and hips. It can increase the chance of getting knee osteoarthritis and can also make it worse.
    • Age – The older you get, you are more likely to develop most types of arthritis.
    • Gender- Most arthritis types are common in women, including rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. But, metabolic arthritis gout is more common in men than women. 
    • Joint injuries – Some jobs involve repetitive knee bending and squatting. Damage caused by overuse of joints or joint injuries can cause osteoarthritis. 
    • Family history- Certain genes you inherited from parents and grandparents may make you likely to develop arthritis. Some arthritis types run in families. If your siblings or parents have these types of arthritis, you may also be at risk of developing it. 

    How Is Arthritis Treated?


    There is no cure for arthritis, but the treatment options can help manage the condition. The goal of the treatment is to control pain, minimize joint damage and improve physical function and quality of life. Your health care professional will tailor the treatment plan depending on the type of your arthritis, your general health status, and the severity of the condition. 



    NSAIDs Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen and naproxen can provide short term relief for pain and inflammation. 


    Corticosteroids such as prednisolone help control or reduce inflammation quickly. It provides pain relief and slow joint damage. 


    Certain ointments or creams can be rubbed over the skin in painful joints or sore muscles to relieve pain temporarily. These preparations commonly contain capsaicin or menthol. 


    Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) can slow the progression of the disease and prevent further joint damage. Examples of these medicines are hydroxychloroquine, chlorambucil, and methotrexate. 


    Hyaluronic acid therapy - a therapy in which thick fluid called hyaluronate will be injected into the knee joint. It helps reduce pain and improve mobility. 




    Surgery is recommended when other conservative options don’t work well. Surgical options are arthroscopy, joint replacement, or fusion, depending on which joints are affected. In joint replacement, the damaged bone is replaced with artificial bone, and the most common bones replaced are hip and knee bones. 


    In joint fusion, two or more bones are fused together. Fusion is often performed for smaller joints such as fingers and ankles. In some instances, the small incision is made over the joints (arthroscopy) to smooth the surfaces which help relieve pain. 


    Physical therapy:


    The focus of physical therapy is to increase the strength of the joints, improve mobility and help perform daily tasks easily. A licensed physical therapist can help you by teaching you proper posture, how to use assistive devices, and recommend modifications to the environment which helps a lot in  relieving pain.




    Weight loss – losing weight decreases stress on the joints and helps prevent further damage. Losing as little as 4 to 6 kgs can improve function and reduce pain in people with arthritis. 


    Regular exercise is a simple and efficient thing in managing arthritis. Choose joint-friendly activities like bicycling, walking, dancing, or water aerobics. These types of exercise have a low risk of injury.


    Assistive devices – using walkers, canes, grabbers, raised toilet seats, shoe inserts, can help protect the joints and make daily activities easier. 


    Heat and cold therapies – applying heat or cold to the affected joints is an inexpensive way to relieve pain related to arthritis. Cold can help reduce swelling and pain, and heat can relax muscles and joint stiffness. 

    Living Well With Arthritis:


    Though there is no cure, arthritis can be successfully managed. Appropriate lifestyle changes can make daily tasks easier. Strictly follow the treatment plan and lifestyle changes to live well.


    Written by
    GuruvigneshwariContent Writer
    AboutM.Pharmacy (Pharmacognosy)
    Tags :What causes arthritiswhat is arthritiswhat are the symptoms of arthritistreatment of arthritis