Glossary of Medical Terms

Arthritis

Arthritis is inflammation of a joint. Symptoms of arthritis may include pain, swelling, redness, warmth, and limitation of movement.

There are over 100 types of arthritis. Three common types are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and gout.

  • Osteoarthritis is a condition in which the cartilage that protects and cushions joints breaks down over time. Eventually, the bones—formerly separated by the cartilage—rub against each other, resulting in damage to the tissue and underlying bone and causing painful joint symptoms.

  • Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an inflammation of the membranes or tissues lining the joints. Over time, rheumatoid arthritis may destroy the joint tissues, including cartilage, ligaments, tendons and bone, and, in rare but severe cases, may cause organ damage.

  • Gouty arthritis (gout) is an inflammatory joint disease that causes acute pain and swelling. It is a form of arthritis that develops when uric acid crystals form in and around the joints, commonly affecting the big toe joint (this symptom is called podagra). People who have gout may have a very painful attack in one or two joints followed by the total disappearance of all symptoms until the next attack. 

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