types of arthritis and symptoms

1. Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis, often referred to as simply arthritis or “wear-and-tear” arthritis, is a common condition that affects the joints. It occurs when the protective cartilage on the ends of bones wears down over time. This can lead to pain, stiffness, and loss of mobility in the affected joint.

The condition is more common in older adults, but it can also develop as a result of an injury, misalignment, or other underlying conditions.

  • Pain, stiffness, and a decrease in range of motion in the affected joint.
  • In advanced cases, the joint may become deformed, and there may be a loss of strength and function, especially noticeable with increased demand.

2. Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic autoimmune disease that causes inflammation in the joints, leading to pain, stiffness, and loss of function.

In RA, the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks the lining of the joints, called the synovium. This leads to inflammation and swelling, which can cause the joint to become damaged over time. RA typically affects the small joints of the hands and feet first, but it can also affect the larger joints such as the knee, hip, and shoulder.

RA is a chronic condition, and there is no cure.

  • Joint pain, stiffness, and swelling, particularly in the hands and feet
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of joint function
  • Rheumatoid nodules, which are small lumps that can form under the skin, usually around the elbow and fingers
  • Dryness of the eyes and mouth
  • Anemia, which is a low red blood cell count caused by inflammation

3. Psoriatic Arthritis

Psoriatic arthritis is a type of inflammatory arthritis that affects some people who have psoriasis, a chronic skin condition characterized by scaly, red patches on the skin. Psoriatic arthritis causes inflammation in the joints and tendons, as well as in other parts of the body. It can lead to joint pain, stiffness, and loss of function.

  • Joint pain, stiffness, and swelling, particularly in the fingers and toes
  • Nail changes, such as pitting or separation from the nail bed
  • Lower back pain
  • Fatigue
  • Inflammation in other parts of the body, such as the eyes, lungs, and heart.

4. Gout

Gout is a type of arthritis that occurs when there is a buildup of uric acid crystals in the joints. This can lead to inflammation, pain, and swelling in the affected joint. The most commonly affected joint is the big toe, but gout can also affect other joints, such as the knee, ankle, and elbow.

Gout attacks can come on suddenly and be quite severe and can be triggered by a variety of factors, such as a diet high in purines (found in red meat, seafood, and alcohol), obesity, certain medications, and certain medical conditions.

  • Intense joint pain that is typically worse at night
  • Swelling, redness, and warmth around the affected joint
  • Stiffness and difficulty moving the affected joint
  • Tenderness and sensitivity to touch in the affected joint

How does physiotherapy Treat Arthritis

Determine the root cause

During the assessment, your therapist will learn about your history and lifestyle patterns, as well as conduct a physical assessment to determine what kind of arthritis you have. Your therapist will provide treatments for inflammation, prescribe exercises, and educate you on how you can manage your arthritis.

management Strategies

Depending on what kind of arthritis you have, the management will vary but will include some of the following:

Myofascial release: to reduce pain, tightness, and inflammation of the muscles, joints, nerves, and fascia of the affected areas.

Joint mobilization: to promote smooth joint movement and mobility of the affected areas.

Passive range of motion: to improve joint mobility and prevent further stiffening and pain in the joint.

Correct muscle imbalances: to correct muscle imbalances that contribute to excessive joint pressure, help prevent injury, and reduce stress on joints

Movement pattern conditioning: to facilitate smooth joint articulations during common movements like walking and prevent further wear and tear of the joint.

Stretching: to improve flexibility and reduce muscle tension around the joint.

Strengthening: to improve the activation and stability of the muscles around the joint and reduce stress on the joint.

Low-impact aerobic exercise: low-impact endurance activities such as walking, cycling, or swimming can improve blood flow and reduce muscle tension.

Home exercise program: individualized exercise prescription to restore optimal and balanced movement.

Acupuncture: use of thin needles to improve local and systemic function, regulate the nervous system, and promote the body’s natural healing processes.

Heat and cold therapy: to manage reduce pain and tension or control inflammation.

Electrostimulation: use of electrical currents to stimulate muscles and reduce pain.

Ultrasound: use of high-frequency sound waves to produce deep tissue heating to reduce muscle tension, fascial tension, and inflammation.

Laser therapy: to improve blood flow, reduce pain and inflammation, and promote tissue healing.