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Arthritis

Arthritis is inflammation of one or more joints, which results in pain, swelling, stiffness, and limited movement. There are over 100 different types of arthritis.

Some of the symptoms you may experience if you have arthritis:

Arthritis involves the breakdown of cartilage. Cartilage normally protects the joint, allowing for smooth movement. Cartilage also absorbs shock when pressure is placed on the joint, like when you walk. Without the usual amount of cartilage, the bones rub together, causing pain, swelling (inflammation), and stiffness.

Treatment of arthritis depends on the particular cause, which joints are affected, severity, and how the condition affects your daily activities. Your age and occupation will also be taken into consideration when your doctor works with you to create a treatment plan.

If possible, treatment will focus on eliminating the underlying cause of the arthritis. However, the cause is not necessarily curable, as with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Treatment, therefore, aims at reducing your pain and discomfort and preventing further disability.

In some cases, surgery to rebuild the joint (arthroplasty) or to replace the joint (such as a total knee joint replacement) may help maintain a more normal lifestyle. The decision to perform joint replacement surgery is normally made when other alternatives, such as lifestyle changes and medications, are no longer effective.

Call your doctor if: