What Is Arthritis?

The ends of the bones that make up joints are covered in smooth, slippery and tough articular cartilage. This allows friction-free movement. Arthritis causes the articular cartilage to wear and become thinner and rougher. This means that the joint friction increases and the joint cannot move as smoothly. This can cause pain. Interestingly the degree of pain does not always relate to the amount of arthritis present. It seems that chemical mediators in the joint fluid can also influence pain levels. These are poorly understood but manipulation of the joint fluid with certain injections can help joint pain.


This is a progressive wear and tear type of arthritis. It is more common in older patients but can also occur in younger people.

Secondary arthritis

This is a type of arthritis caused by previous joint damage due to injury or previous fractures into the joint.

Inflammatory arthritis

Another type of arthritis involves inflammation of the joint and of soft tissues around the joint. This is called inflammatory arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is a type of inflammatory arthritis.

There are several different types of arthritis, including osteoarthritis, which is characterized by progressive wear and tear and is more commonly found in older patients, but can affect younger people as well. Another type of arthritis is secondary arthritis, which results from prior joint damage due to injury or fractures. Finally, there is inflammatory arthritis, which is marked by inflammation of the joint and surrounding soft tissues. A well-known example of inflammatory arthritis is rheumatoid arthritis.

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