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Sports-Medicine Kalyan-Dombivali
What is Arthritis ?
Types of Rheumatic Diseases
 What is Arthritis ?

Many people over time start to feel stiffness & pain in their bodies. Sometimes they may have soreness of hands, knees or hip & difficulty in moving the joint (stiffness). These persons may have arthritis.

Arthritis is an illness that causes pain & swelling in joints. Over a period of time joint may become severely damaged. The word "ARTHRITIS" literally means "Inflammation of Joint" i.e. swelling, heat, redness, pain & loss of function caused by tissue injury or disease in the joint.


  1. Rheumatic Disease: These are characterized by inflammation of one or more connecting or supporting structures of the body including joints, tendons, ligaments, bones & muscles. These diseases may also involve multiple internal organs.
  2. Arthritis: Here inflammation involves mainly joints. The different forms of arthritis form just a portion of rheumatic disease.
  3. Connective tissue disease: These forms of rheumatic disease affect body's connective tissue, the supporting framework of the body & its internal organ.
  4. Autoimmune Disease: In these form of rheumatic disease body's own protective mechanism ( immune systems from infection & disease) harm the body's own healthy tissue.

Types of Rheumatic Diseases:

  1. Osteoarthritis: This commonest form of arthritis mainly affects cartilage( the cushion in between the bone ends in a joint). There occurs wearing & tearing of cartilage which results in pain & stiffness. It is more disabiling if it affects spine & weight bearing joints ( such as hip & knees).
  2. Rheumatoid Arthritis: This is the second commonest type of arthritis characterized by autoimmune inflammatory involvement of synovium or lining of the joint with resultant inflammatory changes. Characterised by bilaterally equal involvement of both sides of the body, it mainly involves hands, knees, elbows & feet.
  3. Juveline Rheumatoid Arthritis: This commonest form of childhood arthritis is associated with fever, skin rashes, multiple internal organ involvement & inflammatory changes in joints.
  4. Fibromyalgia: This chronic disorder is associated with pain, stiffness & localized tender points in the muscles & tendons(that support & move bones & joints). The sites mainly involved are neck, spine, shoulder and hips. There may be associated fatigue & sleep disturbances.
  5. Gout: This type of arthritis caused mainly due to deposition of needle like crystals (stones) of uric acid in the joints. The inflammation commonly involves  the big toe.
  6. Spondyloarthropathies: This group of rheumatic disease are characterized by sacroiliac joint involvement & associated multisystemic complaints. These are discussed later in details.
  7. Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (also known as SLE or lupus): It is an auto immune disease that results in inflammation of & damage to the joint, kidney, heart, skin, lungs, blood vessels & brain.
  8. Scleroderma (Systemic Sclerosis): It literally means "Hard skin". In this condition, there is an abnormal & excessive production of collagen (a fiber like protein) in the skin, blood vessels, lungs, kidney & joints.
  9. Infectitious Arthritis: It includes arthritis caused by infectitious agents (such as parvovirus arthritis, gonococcal arthritis, lyme disease (a bacterial infection caused by tick bite). Here early diagnosis, antibiotic therapy & mechanical drainage of pus (by aspiration or open surgery)are very important to prevent joint damage.
  10. Polymyalgia Rheumatica: This rheumatic disease affects the supporting & moving structure around the joints with resultant morning stiffness, pain and aching involving shoulders, hips, neck & lower back. It may be followed by inflammation, fever, weight-loss & weakness.
  11. Polymyositis: It causes inflammation & weakness in the muscles affecting whole body with resultant disability.
  12. Bursitis: Bursa are small fluid filled sacs that help reduces friction between bones & other moving structures around the joints. Inflammation of bursa is known as bursitis which may be idiopathic (without any known cause) or secondary ( to arthritis, trauma or infection). Bursitis is associated with pain, tenderness & sometimes restriction of motion of nearby joints.
  13. Tendinitis (Tendonitis): Tendons are tough cord of tissue that connect muscle to bone. Tendinitis is inflammation of tendon with resultant pain, tenderness & sometimes restricted motion of nearby joint. It may occur due to overuse, trauma or due to underlying systemic(multiple organ) rheumatic disease.