Did you know there are 4 types of Arthritis? All can lead to pain and swelling in your joints which will cause increased difficulty walking and doing regular activities of daily living and playing sports.

Degenerative Arthritis also known as Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form is when the cartilage at the end of the bone wears away and bone rubs against bone; Inflammatory Arthritis: is when the immune system mistakenly attacks the joints causing uncontrolled inflammation and joint erosion; Infectious Arthritis: is when a bacterium, virus or fungus enters the joint and triggers inflammation potentially causing damage to the joints; Metabolic Arthritis: is when uric acid builds up in the body and forms needle like crystals in the joint.

Osteoarthritis: (OA) can be found in every joint and especially the hips, knees and spine. As the bones rub together pain, swelling and stiffness in the joints develop and can become chronic. Risk factors include excess weight, family history, age and previous injury to the joint. Physical activity, hot packs / cold backs, pain relievers and anti-inflammatories help to manage OA. The use of a cane or walker may be needed to decrease weight on the joint. For severe symptoms that affect one’s quality of life, a joint replacement may be done. One can prevent OA by staying active, maintaining a healthy weight and avoiding repetitive movements and injury to the joints.

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is a type of Inflammatory arthritis where the immune system does not work properly and attacks the joints with uncontrolled inflammation which can lead to joint erosion. Symptoms of RA include pain, swelling, reduced joint range of motion and stiffness in one or more joints. Researchers believe that a combination of genetics and environmental factors can trigger autoimmunity. Smoking is an example of an environmental risk factor that can trigger RA in people with certain genes and RA tends to get worse as people age. Early diagnosis is crucial with the goal of slowing the disease progression in order to minimize permanent joint damage. Use of medications, physical therapy that includes training in energy conservation for activities of daily living in order to decrease stress on the joints along with exercise and joint range of motion are critical in successful management of RA.

Gout: Gout is a form of Metabolic Arthritis that causes severe pain, swelling and redness to occur when too much uric acid crystallizes and deposits in the joints. Gout can come and go in episodes. If the uric acid levels aren’t reduced the joint damage can become chronic causing continuous pain and disability. Gout can be treated by a change to one’s diet, exercise and a decrease in the intake of alcohol to help minimize the frequency of attacks. Medications such as colchicine can also help in managing Gout.

In every type of arthritis, physical activity and joint preservation is key to management!! Call today to learn more about how you can support yourself in managing your arthritis!