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Arthritis

What Is the Definition of Arthritis?

Patient Comments

Arthritis is a joint disorder featuring inflammation. A joint is an area of the body where two bones meet. A joint functions to allow movement of the body parts it connects. Arthritis literally means inflammation of one or more joints. Arthritis is frequently accompanied by joint pain. Joint pain is referred to as arthralgia.

Arthritis is classified as one of the rheumatic diseases. These are conditions that are different individual illnesses, with differing features, treatments, complications, and prognosis. They are similar in that they have a tendency to affect the joints, muscles, ligaments, cartilage, and tendons, and many have the potential to affect internal body areas as well.

There are many forms of arthritis (over 100 have been described so far, and the number is growing). The forms range from those related to wear and tear of cartilage (such as osteoarthritis) to those associated with inflammation as a result of an overactive immune system (such as rheumatoid arthritis). Together, the many forms of arthritis make up the most common chronic illness in the United States.

Arthritis sufferers include men and women, children and adults. More than half of those with arthritis are under 65 years of age. A majority of Americans with arthritis are women.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/11/2017

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Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Arthritis:

Arthritis - Effective Treatments

What kinds of treatments have been effective for your arthritis?

Arthritis - Symptoms

What symptoms did you experience with your arthritis?

Arthritis - Experience

Please share your experience with arthritis.

Arthritis - Prevention

What have you done to prevent arthritis?

Joint pain is a hallmark symptom of arthritis.

Arthritis Symptom

Joint Pain

Joint pain can be caused by injury or disease affecting any of the ligaments, bursae, or tendons surrounding the joint. Injury or disease can also affect the ligaments, cartilage, and bones within the joint, leading to a painful joint. Pain is also a feature of joint inflammation (arthritis) and infection and can be a feature of rare tumors of the joint.


Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Rheumatoid Arthritis »

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic systemic inflammatory disease of unknown cause that primarily affects the peripheral joints in a symmetric pattern.

Read More on Medscape Reference »


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