All about Arthritis symptoms and causes

What is arthritis?

Arthritis symptoms usually develop over a period of time, but they may also appear suddenly. Arthritis is an inflammation of one or more joints. There are over 100 different types of arthritis, each with different causes and treatments. Two of the most common types of arthritis are Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) and Osteoarthritis (OA).

Arthritis is a common condition that causes sufferers to feel pain and inflammation in their joints. Around 10 million people in the UK have arthritis.

What causes arthritis?

Unfortunately, there is no simple answer to this question.  Arthritis is usually caused by a number of contributing factors, which commonly include:

  • Genetics and family history
  • Previous muscle or joint injuries
  • Physically demanding occupations
  • Smoking

What are the symptoms of arthritis?

Arthritis most commonly occurs in adults over the age of 65, but it can also develop in children, teenagers, and younger adults. Arthritis tends to be more common in women than men and is far more common in those who are overweight.

Common warning signs of arthritis include joint stiffness, often followed by joint tenderness or pain during movement or while at rest. In the early stages of RA, it’s common to feel pain in the fingers and wrists, but you may also experience pain in your knees, ankles, shoulders or feet. In the early stages of OA, you’re likely to feel pain and tenderness, loss of flexibility, and a grating or clicking noise when you move.

Is it gout or arthritis?

There are similarities between RA and gout, however there are a few common differences too.  Whilst RA can affect any joint in the body, gout tends to only affect areas of the foot, including the big toe and ankle.  Gout is also commonly associated with a diet high in rich foods, whereas RA is not known to be linked to any food group.  Lastly, whilst RA is often painful, gout is always accompanied by an intense and acute pain.