What Is Arthritis?
Arthritis is a group of conditions that typically involve inflammation and pain in the joints. Arthritis typically develops where two or more bones meet, although it can affect other tissues in the body. Arthritis can lead to joint weakness and physical deformities that can interfere with even the most basic daily activities. Arthritis pain varies considerably in severity. It may come and go, which is called episodic pain, or it may be chronic, meaning you’ll feel it all the time.
How Does Arthritis Happen?
In most cases, arthritis is a natural part of aging, and develops over a lifetime of the use of our joints. In healthy joints, the ends of the bones are protected by cartilage, which is a tough smooth tissue that cushions the ends and allows them to glide smoothly across one another. The whole joint is surrounded by synovial fluid, which lubricates and delivers nutrients to the cartilage. Osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis, develops when the cartilage wears away and the bone ends are left unprotected. They may rub together every time you move, which can cause pain. The edges of the joints may also develop dense spots and bumps called spurs. The ligaments, which are cord-like tissues that connect the bones to other structures around them, may also thicken, preventing movement.