Why Do I Feel This Way?

If you are experiencing chronic pain in your joints, the likely culprit is arthritis. It’s the most common cause of chronic joint pain and disability. While arthritis can take many forms, the three most prevalent types are: osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and traumatic arthritis. Each one has its own unique causes and symptoms, and if left untreated, all of them can create serious health and/or quality of life issues.

Osteoarthritis

This is the “wear and tear” type of arthritis. It usually occurs after the age of 50, although it can happen earlier and usually in an individual with a family history of arthritis. The cartilage that cushions the bone breaks down and wears away, leaving the bones rubbing against each other. This causes pain, stiffness, and loss of movement in the joint that worsens over time. This type of arthritis may also be called degenerative joint disease or degenerative arthritis.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease characterized by inflammation of the lining (the synovium) of the joints. It starts with pain, swelling, warmth, redness, and stiffness around the joints. Then the synovium thickens damaging the cartilage and the joint may lose its shape causing more pain and loss of movement. RA affects more women than men. It is a systemic disease and can affect other organs. It is chronic with flare-ups. Early diagnosis and treatment is essential.

Traumatic Arthritis

This is an arthritis that follows a serious injury to the joint. A knee or hip fracture or soft tissue injury can damage the articular cartilage over time.