ID: 109
Category: Inflammation
CreatedBy: 1
UpdatedBy: 1
createdon: 14 Jul 2017
updatedon: 04 Apr 2023

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Author: Khoa Tran
Published Jul 14, 2017
Updated Apr 04, 2023

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Etymology and Pronunciation

arthritis (ar-thry-tis)
arthro- - Greek for "joint"
-itis - Greek for "inflammation"

History of Arthritis

In ancient times, arthritis was often attributed to supernatural causes, and treatments ranged from prayer and incantations to the application of hot and cold compresses. The ancient Greeks and Romans recognized arthritis as a medical condition and developed treatments such as massage, exercise, and the use of herbal remedies.

In the 17th and 18th centuries, physicians began to study the structure of the joints and the mechanisms of arthritis. In 1683, the English physician Thomas Sydenham described a type of arthritis that affected the hands and feet and was associated with fever and rash. This condition, now known as rheumatoid arthritis, was later studied extensively by the French physician Augustin Jacob Landré-Beauvais in the early 19th century.

In the 20th century, significant progress was made in understanding the underlying causes of arthritis. In 1949, the American rheumatologist Hench discovered that cortisone, a hormone produced by the adrenal gland, was effective in treating rheumatoid arthritis. This discovery led to the development of glucocorticoids, a class of steroid drugs that are still widely used to treat arthritis.

In the 1960s and 1970s, researchers began to study the immune system's role in arthritis. They discovered that certain immune cells, known as T-cells and B-cells, play a critical role in the development of rheumatoid arthritis. This led to the development of new classes of drugs, such as biologics, that target specific components of the immune system.

In recent years, advances in imaging technology, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and ultrasound, have allowed doctors to diagnose and monitor arthritis more accurately. Researchers are also investigating new therapies, such as stem cell therapy and gene therapy, that may offer hope for more effective treatments for arthritis in the future.

Modern Understanding of Arthritis

Arthritis is a condition that affects the joints in the body and is characterized by inflammation, joint pain, and joint stiffness. There are many different types of arthritis, but the two most common types are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Osteoarthritis is a type of arthritis that is caused by the degeneration of cartilage, the material that cushions the joints. This type of arthritis is most common in older adults and is often caused by years of wear and tear on the joints. Cartilage is a strong, flexible tissue that helps the joints move smoothly. When the cartilage wears down, the bones in the joint can rub against each other, which causes pain, stiffness, and limited movement. Osteoarthritis is most common in older people, but it can happen to anyone.

Rheumatoid arthritis, on the other hand, is an autoimmune condition in which the immune system mistakenly attacks the joints, leading to inflammation and pain. Rheumatoid arthritis can also affect other parts of the body, such as the skin, lungs, and blood vessels. Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic condition, which means it can last for a long time. Rheumatoid arthritis can affect people of any age - but is usually diagnosed in ages of 40 and 65 - and is more common in women. 

Arthritis can cause swelling, tenderness, and decreased mobility in the affected joints. It can be treated with physical therapy, medication, and in some cases, surgery. Some common medications used to treat arthritis include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), glucocorticoids, and disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs).

If you have arthritis, it is important to work with a rheumatologist to develop a treatment plan that is right for you. This may also include rehabilitation and complementary therapies, as well as support from family, friends, and support groups.

Other types of arthritis include gout, psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, lupus, and fibromyalgia. If you have chronic joint pain, it is important to see a doctor to get a proper diagnosis and treatment plan. With proper care, it is possible to manage the symptoms of arthritis and maintain good joint health.

Causes of Arthritis

Arthritis is a term used to describe joint inflammation. There are many different types of arthritis, each with its own causes and risk factors. Here are some of the common causes of arthritis:

- Age: One of the primary causes of arthritis is simply getting older. As people age, the cartilage that cushions their joints can start to break down, leading to pain and inflammation.
- Genetics: Some people are more likely to develop arthritis due to their genetic makeup. If other people in your family have arthritis, you may be at higher risk.
- Injury: Arthritis can develop after an injury, such as a broken bone or a tear in a ligament. Injuries can damage the joint and cause inflammation, which can lead to arthritis over time.
- Infection: Certain infections can cause arthritis, such as Lyme disease, which is spread by ticks.
- Autoimmune disorders: Some types of arthritis are caused by the body's immune system attacking the joints. Rheumatoid arthritis, for example, is an autoimmune disorder that can cause joint inflammation and pain.
- Lifestyle factors: Certain lifestyle factors can contribute to the development of arthritis. For example, people who are overweight are at higher risk of developing arthritis, as the extra weight puts added stress on the joints.
- Environmental factors: Exposure to certain environmental factors, such as pollution or chemicals, can also increase the risk of developing arthritis.

It's worth noting that in many cases, the exact cause of arthritis is unknown. However, by understanding the potential risk factors, you can take steps to reduce your risk of developing the condition.

Treatments for Arthritis

There is no cure for arthritis, but there are several treatment options available that can help manage the symptoms and slow down the progression of the disease. Here are some common treatments for arthritis:

- Medications: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and corticosteroids are commonly prescribed to relieve pain and inflammation associated with arthritis. Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) and biologic agents can also be used to slow down the progression of the disease.
- Physical therapy: Physical therapy can help improve joint mobility and muscle strength, reduce pain, and enhance overall physical function.
- Lifestyle changes: Maintaining a healthy weight, regular exercise, and a balanced diet can help manage arthritis symptoms and improve overall health.
- Surgery: In severe cases where joint damage is extensive, joint replacement surgery or joint fusion may be required to restore function and reduce pain.
- Alternative therapies: Some people find relief from arthritis symptoms through alternative therapies such as acupuncture, massage, and herbal supplements. However, it is important to consult with a healthcare provider before trying any alternative therapy.

Treatment options for arthritis may vary depending on the type and severity of the disease, as well as individual factors such as age and overall health. Therefore, it is important to work closely with a healthcare provider to develop a personalized treatment plan.


Grating sensation in joints
Joint pain and stiffness
Tenderness in joints
Limited range of motion

Confirmation Tests

- Ultrasound
- X-rays