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Arthritis Types

Do you or someone you love have arthritis?  On this page you can learn basic information about arthritis in general and several common types of arthritis. You can relieve arthritis pain and improve joint function by learning and using effective management strategies, including community-based programs.

 

Arthritis

image of a hand writing the word arthritis on a clear backgroundArthritis means inflammation of a joint or joints. Inflamed joints are often red, hot, swollen, and tender.  It describes more than 100 conditions that affect the joints or tissues around the joint. Specific symptoms vary depending on the type of arthritis. 

Symptoms may include:

  • Pain or aching.
  • Stiffness.
  • Swelling.
  • Redness.
  • Less range of motion.

You can relieve pain and improve joint function by learning and using five simple and effective arthritis management strategies.

Learn more about arthritis

Osteoarthritis (OA)

Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis.  The cartilage and bones within a joint begin to break down in people with OA.  These changes cause pain, stiffness, and even disability.  OA usually develops slowly and gets worse over time.

Symptoms may include:a man holding his hand in pain

  • Pain or aching.
  • Stiffness.
  • Decreased range of motion.
  • Swelling.

You can relieve pain and improve function of your joints by learning and using five simple and effective arthritis management strategies.

Learn more about osteoarthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA)

Rheumatoid arthritis, or RA, is an autoimmune inflammatory disease, which means that the immune system attacks healthy cells in the body by mistake, causing inflammation in the affected parts of the body.

RA mainly attacks the joints, usually many joints at once. In a joint with RA, the lining of the joint becomes inflamed, causing damage to joint tissue that can result in long-lasting or chronic pain, instability, and deformity.  

RA can also have systemic effects, meaning that, in addition to joints, it can affect other tissues throughout the body and cause problems in organs such as the lungs, heart, and eyes.

With RA, there are times when symptoms get worse, known as flares, and times when symptoms get better, known as remissions.  The severity of RA varies. 

Symptoms may include:

  • Pain or aching in more than one joint
  • Stiffness in more than one joint.
  • Tender, swollen joints.
  • Weight loss.
  • Fatigue, or tiredness.
  • Fever.

You can relieve pain and improve joint function by learning and using five simple and effective arthritis management strategies.

Learn more about RA

Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia, or fibro, can affect the muscles and soft tissues throughout the body. Fibromyalgia is a long-term or chronic condition and may occur on its own or with other conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis.           

Symptoms may include:

  • Widespread muscle pain (all over, or in many parts of the body).
  • Fatigue (tiredness).
  • Multiple tender areas.
  • Depression.
  • Trouble thinking, such as confusion, memory lapses (forgetting), and trouble concentrating.

You can relieve pain and improve joint function by learning and using five simple and effective arthritis management strategies.

Learn more about fibromyalgia

Lupus (Systemic Lupus Erythematosus)

a mother overlooking her daughter who is on a slide at the parkSystemic lupus erythematosus also known as SLE, is an autoimmune inflammatory disease, which means that the immune system attacks healthy cells in the body by mistake, causing inflammation in the affected parts of the body.  [There are other types of lupus, including skin lupus. Learn more from the National Institute of Health (NIH) website Living With Lupus.] 

SLE is systemic, meaning that it affects multiple systems in the body. The disease is usually long-term or chronic, with times when symptoms get worse, known as flares, and times when symptoms get better, known as remissions. 

Symptoms may include:

  • Joint pain.
  • Skin rashes.
  • Nervous system problems like seizures.
  • Oral ulcers.
  • Photosensitivity (sensitivity to light).

Doctors can find other lupus problems by examination or lab tests.

You can relieve pain and improve joint function by learning and using five simple and effective arthritis management strategies.

Learn more about SLE

Gout

Gout usually occurs in only one joint at a time and is temporary or episodic.  Symptoms generally get better in days to weeks. Joints that are commonly affected are the great toe joint, lesser toe joint, ankle, and the knee. Repeated attacks in a joint can cause damaging changes or visible deformity to the joint. 

Symptoms usually occur suddenly in the affected joint(s), and include:

  • Pain, usually intense.
  • Swelling.
  • Redness.
  • Heat.

You can relieve pain and improve joint function by learning and using 5 simple and effective arthritis management strategies.

Learn more about gout

Childhood or Juvenile Arthritis

a mother walking her daughter down the steps of schoolJuvenile idiopathic arthritis, also known as childhood arthritis or juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, is the most common type of arthritis found in children. The disease can cause damage that makes it difficult to do everyday things, and can  result in disability. Some children with JIA achieve permanent remission, which means the disease is no longer active, but any damage to the joint will remain.

Symptoms may include:

  • Joint pain.
  • Swelling.
  • Fever.
  • Stiffness.
  • Rash.
  • Fatigue (tiredness).
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Difficulty with daily living activities such as walking, dressing, and play.

You can relieve pain and improve joint function by learning and using 5 simple and effective arthritis management strategies.

Learn more about childhood arthritis

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