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What are the different types of arthritis?

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Updated May 28, 2014

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Question: What are the different types of arthritis?
Answer: Arthritis means "inflammation of a joint."

There are several conditions that can cause joint inflammation, or arthritis. Use this information to learn more about the type of arthritis you have. The treatment of arthritis will depend on what underlying problem is causing your joint problem.

  • Wear-and-Tear Arthritis (Osteoarthritis)
    Osteoarthritis is a condition that is caused by the combination of several factors. While it is often called 'wear-and-tear' arthritis, this condition is due to more than just wearing away of the joint surface. Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis. It usually causes pain and limited motion, and is most common in the knee joint and hip joint.

  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
    Rheumatoid arthritis is a systemic, autoimmune condition that causes the body to attack its own soft-tissues and joints. Rheumatoid arthritis most commonly affects the joints of the hands and feet, but can also cause elbow, shoulder, and neck problems. Joint swelling is often quite pronounced in rheumatoid arthritis.

    • Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis
      Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, or JRA, is another auto-immune condition, but it tends to affect children and adolescents. There is a broad spectrum of JRA, with some patients having just one joint involved, and others having many problems. The most commonly involved joint in JRA is the knee.

  • Gouty Arthritis
    Gouty arthritis is a condition that is caused by the accumulation of crystals made of urate within the joint. The urate crystals are formed by an unusual breakdown of a normal body substance. Accumulations of urate within a joint causes gouty arthritis. The most commonly affected joints are the big toe and the knee. Fortunately, gouty arthritis has effective treatments.

    • Pseudogout Arthritis
      Pseudogout causes a similar type of arthritis as gout, but the underlying problem is different. Pseudogout arthritis is due to the accumulation of calcium deposits within the joint. Pseudogout is most commonly seen in the knee joint.

  • Lupus Arthritis
    Lupus arthritis is the most common manifestation of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, or SLE. SLE, like rheumatoid arthritis, is an auto-immune condition where the body's immune system causes damage to the joints. The most commonly affected joints in SLE are the hands, wrists, and knees.

  • Spondyloarthropathies
    The spondyloarthropathies are uncommon conditions such as ankylosing spondylitis, Reiter's syndrome, psoriatic arthritis, and enteropathic arthritis. All of these conditions are associated with other problems such as back pain, heel pain, and other conditions. The spondyloarthropathies are a specific chromosomal pattern, and thought to be related to a patient's genetics.

  • Infectious Arthritis
    Infections within a joint cause inflammation leading to infectious arthritis. Other names for infectious arthritis include bacterial arthritis and septic arthritis. Treatment of septic arthritis depends on what is causing the infection, but often requires surgery to clean the infection from the joint.

  • Hemorrhagic Arthritis
    Several conditions can cause bleeding within a joint leading to joint inflammation, or arthritis. These conditions include hemophilia, sickle cell disease, and pigmented villonodular synovitis. All of these conditions all blood to accumulate within the joint causing swelling and pain.

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  6. What Are the Different Types of Arthritis?

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