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Main > Specialty Areas > Rheumatology >

What is Arthritis?

Arthritis ('arth' meaning joint, and 'itis' meaning inflammation) is basically an inflammation of a joint. Arthritis causes swelling, pain and stiffness of muscles. Arthritis can develop from degenerative changes, infection, trauma, metabolic disturbances, etc.

Arthritis is a general name encompassing around 100 different conditions (see the next page for a list of some types of arthritis). Arthritis can be anything from relatively mild forms of tendinitis (as in 'tennis elbow') and bursitis to crippling systemic forms, such as rheumatoid arthritis.

A good percentage of aged people have arthritis, but Arthritis is not a disease of the old. Some forms of arthritis can be seen in children and kids, thousands of middle-age people are also affected by arthritis. The common symptoms for all these conditions are joint and musculoskeletal pain, this kind of pain that is a result of an inflammation of the joint lining.

Types of Arthritis ››

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