What is arthritis?

Arthritis is inflammation of one or more joints. One might have arthritis, when they feel pain and stiffness in the joints like hands, shoulders or knees. Arthritis may be caused by inflammation (redness, heat, pain or swelling) of the tissue (mainly cartilage) lining the joints.


Arthritis involves the breakdown of cartilage, a flexible connective tissue in joints, which protects and allows the joints to move smoothly. Without the normal amount of cartilage the bones rub together causing pain, inflammation and stiffness.

Joint inflammation may result from:

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  • Stress on joints
  • Overweight
  • Hereditary
  • Autoimmunity
  • Broken bones
  • "Wear and tear" of cartilage
  • Infection

Joint inflammation goes away after the cause is treated, but in some cases the inflammation persists after the treatment, this condition is called chronic arthritis. Arthritis may occur in men or women.


There are many types of arthritis. Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are the most common ones.


This is the most common form of arthritis. This occurs with age and mostly affects fingers, knees and hips. Sometimes, osteoarthritis may follow an injury to a joint.

Rheumatoid arthritis

This type of arthritis occurs when body’s immune system does not function properly. It affects joints and bones.
In some types of arthritis, over time, the joints can get severely damaged.

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