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What are the different types of arthritis?

May 16, 2023

When we hear the word “arthritis” most of us think about replacing our hips or our knees. Some of us might think about replacing our shoulder or the pain at the base of our thumb that we feel. But there are different kinds of arthritis and how they are treated depends on what type of arthritis you have. 

According to the CDC the types of arthritis are:

Osteoarthritis: This is the most common type of arthritis and it is the one that we think about when we talk about joint replacements. Osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage in a joint breaks down causing a “bone on bone” situation. These changes are gradual and tend to cause stiffness and pain.

Rheumatoid Arthritis: Is an autoimmune and inflammatory disease where the body attacks its own joints and causes pain and inflammation. We often see this type of arthritis in our wrist and fingers that cause some deformity and swelling. You can get pain and stiffness, but also show signs of infection such as fever and weight loss.

Childhood Arthritis: This is another type of rheumatoid arthritis and is often seen in children and juveniles.  This often makes any tasks difficult for that child to do. Remission of this disease is possible so there is hope for the children to “overcome” it. 

Fibromyalgia: This condition causes widespread pain throughout the body and is often diagnosed after testing for all other medical issues have come back negative. It tends to cause issue with sleep, fatigue and emotional or mental stress. 

Gout: This is a very painful, inflammatory condition of a single joint (usually) that occurs is it flares up in the body. It is often managed with medications, diet, and other activity adjustments. Limiting processed foods and alcohol can help keep uric acid levels lower in your body to help prevent flare ups and keeping them in remission.

Lupus: It is a chronic, autoimmune disease that can damage any part of your body. Symptoms can include pain, fever, rash, hair loss, amongst others. 

As you can see there are several different types of arthritis. There are some common items (inflammation, pain) and some uncommon items between them. However all can be assessed and treated with physical therapy. Physical is not a cure all for these things, but it can help make life better, decrease your pain, and improve your activity level.