“Arthritis” refers to over 100 different conditions that affect the joints (the places where 2 bones meet). Some types of arthritis also affect other areas of the body, such as the kidneys skin, or heart. Arthritis is usually a long-lasting disease, often affecting people over many years.
Symptoms include pain, stiffness, swelling, redness, and heat in joints. The 2 most common forms are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Osteoarthritis (OA), also known as degenerative arthritis or degenerative joint disease, is the most common type of arthritis. OA can develop at any age but usually develops after the age of 45. It affects both men and women equally. Deterioration of cartilage in one or more joint is responsible for OA, leading to joint damage, pain, and stiffness. OA commonly affects the knees, hands, feet, spine, and hips.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) usually presents between 25 and 50 years of age. Women are twice as likely as men to get RA. RA is a progressive disorder, meaning that it gets worse over time. Symptoms include stiffness, swelling, pain and joint damage, and are a result of the inflammation of the joints in the body. It can also affect other areas of the body, including the heart, eyes, and lungs. RA is an autoimmune disease because it is your body’s own immune system that is fighting itself. RA may cause severe disability in some people. It can be managed through medications and other treatments.
Other types of arthritis
Psoriatic arthritis can occur between the ages of 20 and 50. Men and women are equally likely to get psoriatic arthritis. Psoriatic arthritis usually starts out as psoriasis, a condition where areas of the skin become inflamed and covered with silvery grey scales. The fingernails may also be damaged. In some people, arthritis may show up first. The joints most often affected include the knees, ankles, wrists, fingers, and toes. The spine and sacroiliac joints (the joints between the spine and hips) may also be affected.
Infectious arthritis affects men and women, and may occur at any age, causing joint inflammation (swelling and pain). A germ such as a bacterium, a virus, or a fungus causes infectious arthritis by travelling into a joint, where it causes inflammation. Usually large joints such as hips, knees, and shoulders It can also affect smaller joints of the fingers and ankles. Normally, if treated early, the symptoms are not long-lasting.
Children can get arthritis too
Arthritis is not just an “adult disease.” Juvenile arthritis is a general term for all types of arthritis that affect children. This includes many types of arthritis, such as juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA), childhood forms of lupus, ankylosing spondylitis, and others.
JRA affects children 16 years of age or younger, and is the most common form of arthritis in children. Symptoms usually tend to disappear after several months or years.
Find more information on arthritis here: Arthritis Foundation of New Zealand Queen Elizabeth Hospital
How can OLAB can help?
Orthotic treatment options for Arthritis include a variety of resting hand splints, close fitting Lycra gloves or night resting splints for ankles and feet. Visit our braces & supports page or contact us for more information on what is available.