Different Types of Arthritis

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Published on January 17, 2020

Different Types of Arthritis

Graphic showing joint areas in the bodyGraphic showing joint areas in the bodyArthritis is a very common disease that affects more than 50 million adults and 300,000 children in America and is characterized by joint swelling and pain. According to the Arthritis Foundation, there are more than 100 different types of arthritis. Here are some of the most common.

1. Osteoarthritis (Degenerative arthritis)

The protective cartilage inside the joint breaks down and makes movement more difficult and painful. As the cartilage wears down, bones of the joint may rub directly against one another, causing severe pain. The intensity of osteoarthritis pain varies from person to person and can range from mild to severe.

2. Inflammatory arthritis:

A healthy immune system is protective. It generates internal inflammation to get rid of infection and prevent disease. But the immune system can go awry, mistakenly attacking the joints with uncontrolled inflammation, potentially causing joint damage and may harm internal organs, eyes and other parts of the body

Here are some examples of inflammatory arthritis:

Rheumatoid Arthritis

In RA, or rheumatoid arthritis, the joints and other organs are attacked by the body’s own immune system, which normally protects a person from viruses, bacteria and other invaders. This makes RA an autoimmune disease as the immune system primarily goes after the lining of the joints, called the synovium. Over time, the persistent inflammation breaks down the joint and damages it permanently, if remains untreated.

Psoriatic Arthritis

Psoriatic arthritis (PsA) is an autoimmune inflammatory disease in which the immune system attacks the body, causing inflammation and pain. PsA affects the body in three ways; joints, causing arthritis; the connective tissue where tendons or ligaments attach to bones, causing enthesitis; and the skin, causing psoriasis.


Another autoimmune inflammatory disease is lupus. It affects many parts of the body including the joints, kidneys, skin, blood, brain and other organs. It can cause joint pain, fatigue, hair loss, skin sensitivity to light, fever, rash and kidney problems.

3. Metabolic arthritis


Gout is a form of inflammatory arthritis, but it does not cause body-wide inflammation like RA or PsA. With gout, the body produces too much uric acid or is unable to remove it fast enough and crystals form in the joints. This results in extremely painful joint inflammation. Gout usually strikes in the big toe, but can also affect other joints. Gout can come and go in episodes or, if uric acid levels aren’t reduced, it can become chronic, causing ongoing pain and disability.


Deposition of crystals of calcium pyrophosphate dehydrate (CPP) can cause acute or chronic arthritis.

4. Infectious arthritis

A bacterium, virus or fungus can enter the joint and trigger inflammation. In many cases, timely treatment with antibiotics may clear the joint infection, but sometimes the arthritis becomes chronic.

Back Pain

Back pain can be a symptom of several forms of arthritis including osteoarthritis or autoimmune diseases and related conditions however; it can also be the result of some type of injury, such as lifting or bending improperly, a sports injury or an automobile accident.


Fibromyalgia is considered a central pain syndrome. This means that the brain and spinal cord process pain signals differently than normal. A touch or movement that doesn’t usually cause pain may feel painful and something that is mildly painful may hurt even more. It is characterized by widespread pain in the body. It may come and go or be constant. In addition to pain, fibromyalgia is associated with other symptoms such as fatigue, sleep disorder, inability to concentrate and depression.

Other Musculoskeletal Pain

Soft-tissue rheumatic conditions can also cause pain. In these conditions, muscles, connective tissues such as tendons and ligaments, and bursae (small, fluid-filled sacs that provide cushion between bones and tendons around joints) become inflamed and painful.

Seyedehsara Seyedali MD, a rheumatologist (arthritis specialist) at PIH Health Wells medical office building recommends, “Talk to your doctor if you experience any of these types of pain to get the proper diagnosis and treatment.” Dr. Seyedali adds, “Your primary care physician may refer you to a rheumatologist for further testing and treatment.”

Call 562.967.2788 to make an appointment with Dr. Seyedali directly.

The information in Healthy Living Online is for educational purposes only.  It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice.  The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation, or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan.