Symptoms and Signs of Arthritis

Medical Author:
Medically Reviewed on 1/26/2022

Doctor's Notes on Arthritis

Arthritis is a joint disorder that features inflammation of the joint. Signs and symptoms of arthritis include pain and limited function of joints. Any joint can develop arthritis; the pain may be intermittent or constant. Many of the forms of arthritis can cause signs and symptoms in various organs. Consequently, in addition to joint problems, certain forms of arthritis can also have signs and symptoms that include

  • fever,
  • lymph gland swelling,
  • fatigue,
  • weight loss,
  • malaise, and
  • be related to abnormalities in organs such as the lungs, heart, and/or kidneys.

Causes of arthritis depends upon the underlying problems or forms that trigger the disease. Causes include injury (overuse of joints), metabolism (gout), genetics and/or inheritance (osteoarthritis), infection (Lyme disease), immune mediated (rheumatoid arthritis), and systemic lupus erythematosus). Arthritis is classified as rheumatic disease; there are many forms of arthritis as over 100 have been described.

What Are the Treatments for Arthritis?

Treatment of arthritis vary, but all types are designed to relieve pain and improve joint functions. There are three general treatments; more than one type is often used:

  • Medications with examples
  • Therapy: exercises to improve strength and range of motion
  • Surgery
    • Joint repair: realignment of joints
    • Joint replacement: artificial joints replace diseased joints
    • Fusion of joint: removal of ends of bones that make a joint and then fusing the ends to make a rigid bone that does not have any joint activity (usually only done with small joints like fingers)

Your doctor can suggest the best treatments for your condition.

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Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.