What is Arthritis?

What is Arthritis?

Arthritis is a common term and there are many different types of arthritis. Often people confuse the different names of arthritis which is understandable because medicine has a very complicated understanding and classification of the different sorts of arthritis!

Did you know that there are about 100 different types of arthritis?

It sounds pretty complicated and its tough to remember all of the names of the different types of arthritis.

In a nutshell, arthritis is a condition that affects your joints. It causes either pain and/or inflammation and damage in the joints.

Broadly when understanding arthritis it is easy to group them into 2 lots. Medically we see them as 2 groups:



To explain further:

  1. Degenerative – this means wear and tear on the joints, which would be expected with age, activity and trauma.

This type is also known as ‘osteoarthritis’, with osteo meaning ’bone’.

  • This refers to the fact that the cartilage and the bones in the joints can wear down and become damaged and or inflamed.
  1. Inflammatory – this means there is inflammation of the lining of the joints, resulting in fluid in the joint.

The inflamed synovium (the lining of the joint) produces excess fluid, causing swelling in the joint.

This can result in swelling of the joints,

  • sometimes the joints can become really swollen and tight and painful to move, and with less movement due to the amount of fluid in the joints.

The lining of the joint usually produces a small amount of fluid to lubricate the joints facilitating smooth movement, but excess fluid gets in the way of movement and can cause pain.

To put it simply, you could consider a degenerative arthritis to be on the whole a ‘dry’ arthritis, as there is no extra fluid in the joint, and inflammatory arthritis a ‘wet’ arthritis as there is extra fluid in the joint!

Interesting facts about Arthritis

Did you know that 3.85million Australians are affected by arthritis? This costs our economy more than $23.9 billion each year. That includes both the cost of medical care as well as indirect costs such as loss of earnings and lost production. $23.9 BILLION each year is staggering!

95% of arthritis in Australia is due to Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid arthritis, or Gout.