Arthritis is a general term that refers to both inflammatory rheumatic and non-inflammatory joint disease that can cause pain, stiffness, and swelling in joints or in other connective tissues. These diseases can also affect supporting structures such as muscles, tendons, ligaments, or other parts of the body. Some common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, gout, ankylosing spondylitis, and psoriatic arthritis.
What Is Osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis, which is very common, is also referred to as degenerative joint disease. It may involve any joint; however, large joints such as the hip or knee and small joints in the fingers are often involved. Osteoarthritis is commonly referred to as degenerative disk disease if it involves the spine. After age 30, almost everyone has some kind of X-ray evidence of osteoarthritis, so it is easy to see why it is frequently diagnosed for aches and pains. Osteoarthritis occurs when bone surfaces in and near joints become irregular. Think of a tight, squeaky door hinge, where the surface of the hinge has become rough or maybe a bit rusted.