Types of Arthritis and their Symptoms

Updated at: Jun 29, 2018
Types of Arthritis and their Symptoms

Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are the two of the common types of arthritis. Osteoarthritis causes joint pain whereas rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease.

Dr Poonam Sachdev
ArthritisWritten by: Dr Poonam SachdevPublished at: Jun 29, 2018

Arthritis actually means inflammation of the joints. The term arthritis is used to denote a group of chronic disorders that affect your joints and muscles. There are about 100 different types of arthritis are known and the number is growing.

The common symptoms of arthritis are joint pain, inflammation and limited movement of joints. In some types of arthritis an inflamed joint can become swollen, tender, warm to the touch or red. Besides the joint some kind of arthritis can affect various other organs of the body as well. Hence, some patients with arthritis can have fever, gland swelling (swollen lymph nodes), weight loss, fatigue, and symptoms from abnormalities of organs such as the lungs, heart, or kidneys in addition to joint pain and other symptoms of the joint.

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Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are the two of the most common forms of arthritis.


Osteoarthritis (OA) is a degenerative joint disease that results from wear and tear of the joint tissue and causes joint pain and stiffness. Although any joint in the body can be affected, the commonly affected joints are knees, hips, hands and spine. The common signs and symptoms of OA are:

  • Pain and swelling around the joint
  • Redness
  • Limitation of motion

Osteoarthritis probably affects everyone over 60 years of age to some degree, but only some people develop noticeable or severe symptoms. Besides age, the other risk factors for OA are joint trauma, obesity, and repetitive joint use.

There is no cure for osteoarthritis, but early and accurate diagnosis is important for appropriate treatment and prevention of irreversible damage and disability.

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)

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This is the most common and serious inflammatory form of arthritis that needs aggressive treatment. It is an autoimmune disease. The disturbed immune system attacks the body’s own cells known as synovium (cell lining inside the joint). Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic, progressive disease which can be potentially disabling.

Any joint in the body can be affected by rheumatoid arthritis but the small finger joints, wrists, knees and toes are most commonly affected by RA. The common signs and symptoms of RA are:

  • Pain (the severity of pain is variable)
  • Joint stiffness and decreased range of motion of a joint (stiffness is most noticeable in the morning which improves later in the day)
  • Redness, tenderness, and warmth in the affected joint
  • Swelling: The area surrounding the affected joint can become swollen and puffy
  • Small hard bumps or nodules on or near the joint

If you think you have symptoms suggestive of joint disease, consult your doctor. Early and accurate diagnosis is important for appropriate treatment and prevention of irreversible damage and disability due to arthritis.

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