How Different Types of Arthritis Affect Your Joints Differently

Do you believe your joint pain is caused by arthritis? With over 100 different types of arthritis identified, knowing the type you have could be the key to relieving your pain and inflammation. A qualified specialist can correctly diagnose your arthritis type and properly manage your symptoms with a targeted regimen.

At Western Orthopaedics in Arvada and Denver, Colorado, our team of orthopaedic specialists has many years of combined experience diagnosing and treating the various forms of arthritis. They can properly classify your arthritis type and treat your joint pain and any other symptoms. 

The five main types of arthritis

There are five major types of arthritis. Each type has subtypes, but identifying the main diagnosis is the first step. Some types of arthritis show signs almost immediately, while others may progress for years before symptoms begin to show up.    

1. Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis. It’s caused by a mechanical breakdown of the cartilage covering the ends of your joints, meaning there’s no cushion and the bones start grating against each other. The main signs of osteoarthritis are sharp pain and a grinding, popping, or clicking sound when you move your joints. Later inflammation can cause redness and swelling.

2. Rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease. Blood tests can reveal an RA marker, confirming your doctor’s suspicions. The main signs of RA are joint pain and swelling to the point of physical deformity. All affected joints are typically on the same side of the body.

3. Psoriatic arthritis

Psoriatic arthritis (PA) is typically seen in people who have psoriasis, an autoimmune skin condition. Psoriasis causes patches of scaly, cracked skin, often around the joints, but some people with PA have arthritic symptoms before skin issues ever appear. Signs of PA usually start with pain in the lower back, feet, ankles, and toes or fingers.

4. Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia can cause widespread musculoskeletal pain. Around 10-20% of people with RA also have fibromyalgia. However, while RA is an autoimmune, inflammatory condition, fibromyalgia is not considered autoimmune by most medical doctors. Fibromyalgia is often diagnosed by the presence of pain in 18 distinct parts of the body and by ruling out other similar conditions.   

5. Gout

Gouty arthritis has a very specific cause: deposits of uric acid crystals in a joint. The initial pain is typically in a big toe and then it moves up into the foot and ankle joint. It may only ever affect that one lower extremity. Gout usually comes on very suddenly, causing massive pain as the toe is pushed out of position by the rapid swelling. 

If you want to get to the bottom of your arthritis pain, call your closest Western Orthopaedics office or book a consultation online.

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