Arthritis is the swelling and tenderness of one or more joints that can cause moderate to severe pain. The condition is characterized by joint pain and stiffness, which typically worsen with age. The two most common forms of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Osteoarthritis causes the hard, slippery tissue that covers the ends of bones where they form a joint (called cartilage) to break down. Rheumatoid arthritis, on the other hand, is a disease in which the immune system attacks the joints, beginning with the lining of joints.
Uric acid crystals, which form when the concentration of uric acid in the blood is abnormally high, can cause gout. Other types of arthritis can be caused by infections or underlying disease, such as psoriasis or lupus.
The most common signs and symptoms of arthritis affect the joints. Depending on the type of arthritis, patients may experience the following signs and symptoms:
Individuals may be at increased risk of arthritis if they:
The doctor will begin by performing a physical examination of the joints, checking for swelling, redness, and warmth. They will also ask the patient to make certain motions to check the mobility of their joints.
The patient will then need to submit blood, urine, and joint fluid to identify the type of arthritis they have.
Imaging tests will be done to help identify the problems within the joint that may be causing arthritis pain. A few types of imaging tests that may be done include:
Once the physician has reviewed the results of the tests and exams, they will create a personalized treatment plan.