Arthritis is a term often used to mean any disorder that affects joints.[2] Symptoms generally include joint pain and stiffness.[2] Other symptoms may include redness, warmth, swelling, and decreased range of motion of the affected joints.[2][3] In some types of arthritis, other organs are also affected.[6] Onset can be gradual or sudden.[5]

A hand affected by rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune form of arthritis
SymptomsJoint pain, stiffness, redness, swelling, decreased range of motion[2][3]
Types> 100, most common (osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis)[4][5][6]
TreatmentResting, applying ice or heat, weight loss, exercise, joint replacement[6]
MedicationIbuprofen, paracetamol (acetaminophen)[7]

There are over 100 types of arthritis.[4][5] The most common forms are osteoarthritis (degenerative joint disease) and rheumatoid arthritis.[6] Osteoarthritis usually occurs with age and affects the fingers, knees, and hips.[6] Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that often affects the hands and feet.[6] Other types include gout, lupus, fibromyalgia, and septic arthritis.[6][8] They are all types of rheumatic disease.[2]

Treatment may include resting the joint and alternating between applying ice and heat.[6] Weight loss and exercise may also be useful.[6] Recommended medications may depend on the form of arthritis.[7] These may include pain medications such as ibuprofen and paracetamol (acetaminophen).[7] In some circumstances, a joint replacement may be useful.[6]

Osteoarthritis affects more than 3.8% of people, while rheumatoid arthritis affects about 0.24% of people.[9] Gout affects about 1–2% of the Western population at some point in their lives.[10] In Australia about 15% of people are affected by arthritis,[11] while in the United States more than 20% have a type of arthritis.[8][12] Overall the disease becomes more common with age.[8] Arthritis is a common reason that people miss work and can result in a decreased quality of life.[7] The term is derived from arthr- (meaning 'joint') and -itis (meaning 'inflammation').[13][14]