Arthritis is not just one condition — in fact, there are more than 100 types, each of which has different symptoms and impacts the body in a distinct way. However, if you’re suffering from arthritis, the likelihood is you have one of the four most common types.
The most common type of arthritis of all is osteoarthritis. Many people suffer from this condition as a natural consequence of aging, due to years of putting pressure on the joints and wearing down cartilage. You may also experience osteoarthritis if you have put stress on your joints due to an injury or obesity. In any case, it affects the knees, feet, spine, and hips the most.
The defining characteristic of osteoarthritis is an ache deep in the joints that makes you feel stiff after resting and when you wake up in the morning (typically lasting no more than half an hour). Walking may be painful and some movements may be difficult.
Arthritis can also be an autoimmune disease, which is the case for rheumatoid arthritis. No one knows for sure what causes the condition, and it can appear either suddenly or gradually. The symptoms tend to be more severe than for osteoarthritis and include pain, swollen joints, and stiffness in the morning that lasts more than half an hour. Rheumatoid arthritis usually affects both sides of the body equally.
A preventable form of arthritis is gout. It usually occurs suddenly, particularly when you wake up after drinking the night before or when you’re stressed. It tends to occur in the big toe or somewhere else in the foot. If you are prone to gout, you should take steps to prevent uric acid buildup in your body.
Around 10 to 30 sufferers of psoriasis will experience psoriatic arthritis. The psoriasis itself tends to appear first, as patches of red or white inflammation that make the skin scaly. Psoriatic arthritis can lead to swelling of the fingers and toes, often causing the fingernails to become discoloured or have pits. Occasionally, the condition also affects the joints — sometimes just one joint.
Each type of arthritis requires a specific treatment to ease or eliminate the symptoms. You should receive osteoarthritis treatment from a qualified physiotherapist, who can provide you with a personalized service according to what works for your symptoms and teach you ways to reduce aching from joints at home. Schedule an appointment at Global Physiotherapy to find relief from your osteoarthritis.