Arthritis is inflammation of a joint. Symptoms of arthritis may
include pain, swelling, redness, warmth, and limitation of movement.
There are over 100 types of arthritis. Three common types are
osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and gout.
Osteoarthritis is a
condition in which the cartilage that protects and cushions joints breaks down
over time. Eventually, the bones-formerly separated by the cartilage-rub
against each other, resulting in damage to the tissue and underlying bone and
causing painful joint symptoms.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an inflammation of the membranes or tissues lining the
joints. Over time, rheumatoid arthritis may destroy the joint tissues,
including cartilage, ligaments, tendons and bone, and, in rare but severe
cases, may cause organ damage.
Gouty arthritis (gout) is an inflammatory joint disease that causes acute pain
and swelling. It is a form of arthritis that develops when uric acid crystals
form in and around the joints, commonly affecting the big toe joint (this
symptom is called podagra). People who have gout may have a very painful attack
in one or two joints followed by the total disappearance of all symptoms until
the next attack.
Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine & Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine & Stanford M. Shoor, MD - Rheumatology