Arthritis is damage/inflammation located in the cartilage; which consequently creates great difficulty in the smooth movement of the joints. Symptoms include: swelling, stiffness, joint pain and redness of the affected joints which can result in the loss of movement range within the joint and even joint deformity. Arthritis can affect people of all ages, it does not only affect those of a mature age- 15,000 children and young people are affected from arthritis in the UK. Early symptoms include mild discomfort, before they greatly worsen over time.
The two most common types of arthritis are: Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis.
Osteoarthritis- Osteoarthritis is a form of arthritis; caused by the cartilage (which protects the joint) to wear away over time. Eventually the cartilage can become completely worn down, consequently damaging the smooth cartilage lining of tendons and ligaments and therefore resulting in movement becoming more painful and stiff as the bones rub against one another; resulting in damage to the tissue and bone, causing painful joint symptoms. Consequently, the bones lose their mass and density; which makes them more fragile, causing them to wear away over time.
Osteoarthritis is caused by wear and tear, joint injury or other joint related problems. It can occur at any age; however commonly is shown to develop in those of a mature adulthood (40+), study has shown that this type of arthritis is also most common in women and can be affected by genetics. Osteoarthritis targets the ends of the fingers, the hips, knees and lower spine. It is the most common type of arthritis, and in the UK alone Osteoarthritis affects around 8 million people. Tendons and Ligaments may have greater difficulty in performing effortless movement, as the cartilage lining begins to thicken and become rougher. This results in swelling and the formation of bony spurs – also known as osteophytes. Pain, inflammation and stiffness caused by Osteoarthritis causes discomfort and difficulty in ease of movement, loss of muscle around the joints also causes them to feel a lot weaker, causing an individual to be incapable of certain tasks.
There is currently no cure for Osteoarthritis, however there are various things a person could do to relieve the symptoms. Including life style changes, medications, supportive therapies and even in some cases surgery.