Arthritis is a term used to describe a number of painful conditions of the joints and bones. Two of the main types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. Cartilage (connective tissue) between the bones gradually wastes away (degenerates), and this can lead to painful rubbing of bone on bone in the joints. It may also cause joints to fall out of their natural positions (misalignment). The most frequently affected joints are in the hands, spine, knees and hips.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a more severe, but less common condition. The body's immune system attacks and destroys the joint, causing pain and swelling. It can lead to reduction of movement, and the breakdown of bone and cartilage.
There are over 200 forms of arthritis. More common forms include:
- Ankylosing spondylitis
- Cervical spondylitis
- Systemic lupus erythematosis (lupus)
- Psoriatic arthritis
- Reactive arthritis