Arthritis is a common condition that causes pain and inflammation in a joint.
In the UK, around 10 million people have arthritis. It affects people of all ages, including children (see below).
Types of arthritis
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis in the UK. Although it can occur at any age following injury, it is more common in adults over 40. It’s also more common in women and people with a family history of the condition.
Osteoarthritis initially affects the smooth cartilage lining of the joint. This makes movement more difficult than usual, leading to pain and stiffness.
Once the cartilage lining starts to roughen and thin out, the tendons and ligaments have to work harder. This can cause swelling and the formation of bony spurs.
Severe loss of cartilage can lead to bone rubbing on bone, altering the shape of the joint and forcing the bones out of their normal position.
The most commonly affected joints are those in the:
It often starts when a person is between 40 and 50 years old. Women are three times more likely to be affected than men.
Rheumatoid and osteoarthritis are two different conditions. Rheumatoid arthritis occurs when the body’s immune system targets affected joints, which leads to pain and swelling.
Source NHS Choices