World Arthritis Day – Could You Be Suffering From Arthritis?

October 12 is World Arthritis day. 
Did you know Arthritis is the leading cause of chronic pain and the second most common cause of disability and early retirement due to ill health in Australia. As of August 2020 3.9 million Australians had been diagnosed with some form of Arthritis impacting all ages, with numbers predicted to rise to 5.4 million by 2030. 
Osteopath Liz explores the categories of Arthritis and the symptoms to help you understand this common condition.

The institution of health and welfare defines arthritis as an umbrella term for a range of inflammatory conditions affecting the bones, muscles and joints. These conditions often result in pain, stiffness and redness.

There are over 100 types of arthritis, with osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and gout the most common forms within australia.
Osteoarthritis 
Osteoarthritis (OA), the most common form of arthritis, is a condition that affects the whole joint including bone, cartilage, ligaments and muscle.
OA can occur in any joint but most commonly occurs in the hips, knees, big toe and fingers. Symptoms differ from person to person and can develop over months or even years. Pain and stiffness in the joints are usually the first symptoms to occur, early on symptoms are often related to physical activity but can become constant later on in life. Other symptoms may include clicking and grinding noises/sensations within the joint, and or loss of joint flexibility.
Research has shown previous injury, jobs involving climbing, lifting, kneeling and squatting, overweight and obesity, and family history can all be risk factors for developing OA.
Rheumatoid Arthritis 
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), is an autoimmune disease that causes pain and swelling within the joint. In RA, the immune system targets the lining of the joints, causing inflammation and damage.
RA most commonly affects the smaller joints within the body, such as the hands and feet. As with OA, symptoms vary from person to person but are often symmetrical throughout the body. Joint pain and stiffness, swelling and tenderness to touch are the most common symptoms.
It is not currently known what causes RA but often has strong correlation to family history and environmental factors such as smoking and heavy drinking.
Gout
Unlike other forms of arthritis Gout often attacks the joints quickly, small crystals form in and around the joint, causing inflammation, pain and swelling. These crystals are made up of uric acid, one of the body’s waste products that is usually disposed of by the kidneys through urination.
Gout causes the joints to become very red, swollen and extremely painful and particularly sensitive to touch. Gout will normally only impact one joint at a time, commonly the big toe.
Again, like other forms of arthritis gout can have strong family ties, however, has strong correlation to overweight and obesity, high cholesterol and/or blood pressure, kidney disease and extended use of diuretics.
For more information on these and other forms of arthritis, check out the Myo clinic website here.