Print    Email
Decrease (-) Restore Default Increase (+)
Bookmark and Share

What Is Arthritis?

Arthritis and the symptoms people experience can be very confusing.  Pains or aches in shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, knees and ankles are fairly common experiences for adults. These symptoms account for approximately 2 out of 5 visits to a physician. When a person is injured it is easy to understand why there is pain.  When a person is unaware of any injury it is more distressing.  The person makes sense of the pain by imagining disease in the parts that hurt.  When people develop pain in their hips or knees there can be numerous explanations. One common cause of the pain is osteoarthritis, or what most people refer to as arthritis.  There are many other causes of joint pain, some of which are much more difficult to understand than arthritis. 

Major Categories of Arthritis
There are two major categories of arthritis. How the disease in these two kinds of arthritis develop, and why they occur are very different. Arthritis can occur because the joint simply wears out.  We call this type of arthritis, osteoarthritis. Sometimes the wearing out of a joint is accelerated by a severe injury or repeated more minor injuries. The resulting osteoarthritis is usually is referred to as post traumatic arthritis.    Arthritis can also occur because the immune system is not working correctly.  We call this type of arthritis, inflammatory. Musty common example of inflammatory arthritis is rheumatoid arthritis.  . The symptoms of osteoarthritis are pain and loss of function (unable to walk or limping) the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis are similar to those for osteoarthritis but there is also swelling of many joints.

Source: “Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Shoulder, Hip and Knee Arthritis but Didn't Know What to Ask” by M.D. Alexander D Rosenstein, M.D., William D Ratnoff, M.D. and Stehpen S. Yang.
For more information visit:

Our Mission: Striving to provide the best health care to every patient, every day.       © 2015 CAMC Health System, Inc.