About 80% of the world population is within the clutches of the ailment called arthritis. Arthritis is characterized by joint inflammation. It is a chronic disorder making mobility, day to day activities and life altogether quite difficult. Pain or arthralgia is the ruling symptom of arthritis, and there is not a single arthritis patient who would not complain of aching joints. Arthritis causes the joints to wear out. To understand the cause of the pain, we have to cast a glance at the structure and functioning of a joint in human body.
A joint is surrounded by a protective cover called capsule. Two bone heads meeting at a joint turn on each other, and the muscles around the joint contract and relax, thereby collectively facilitating movement of the joints. The joint cavity is filled with synovial fluid which acts as a lubricating agent and absorbs the external jerks or shocks. The point where the bone heads meet, cartilages occur. Cartilages play a vital role in inhibiting friction between bones, and provide a padded surface for the free and smooth movement of bones. When the cartilages get damaged or wear out due to factors like aging, obesity, they can no more check bone friction. The bones get rubbed against each other, and may even get eroded to form spur like outgrowths called osteophytes.
The result is an inflamed and painful joint. Aging is a major factor causing arthritis. With age, the cartilages become weak, can no more resist day to day wear and tear, and start flaking. This degeneration leads to loss of cartilage and exposure of bones to friction. If body weight increases, that too can lead to painful joints. The cartilages wear out under the load of the extra body weight, causing arthritis. Apart from the above two factors, heredity, past history of traumatic joint injury or infection, may in course of time, lead to painful joints. Cartilage degeneration is the leading cause of joint pain; but also accumulation of fluids and uric acid crystals within joints can cause arthritis joint pain. Joint pain may even occur when the body's own immune system start consuming the healthy tissues at the joint. This is true in case of rheumatoid arthritis. Knee, hip, shoulder, ankle, wrist and even spine are the joints vulnerable to the attack of arthritis.
1. Excruciating pain at the joints
4. Redness of skin
5. Deformity in the joint area
6. Crepitus or a cracking sound while moving affected joint
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