The term arthritis (from the Greek arthron : articulation, and from the Latin ite : inflammation) refers to more than a hundred different conditions that are characterized by pain in joints, ligaments, tendons, bones or other elements of the musculoskeletal system. (The special section on Arthritis presents specific factsheets on several of these conditions.)
Formerly, the word rheumatism (from the Latin rheumatismus , for “flow of moods”) was used to designate all these affections. This term is now considered obsolete.
Nearly 1 Canadian in 6 aged 12 and over suffers from some form of arthritis, according to Statistics Canada 2 . According to another source (the Arthritis Society), 4.6 million Canadians would suffer from arthritis, including 1 million inflammatory arthritis. In France, 17% of the population suffers from osteoarthritis.
Note . Some forms of arthritis are characterized by the presence of inflammation , but not all. Inflammation is a natural reaction of the body to an irritated or infected tissue. It causes swelling , pain and redness to the affected area of the body.
Causes of Arthritis Knee
The arthritis can appear as a result of injury, infection or simple wear and tear, but can also be the result of a disease autoimmune in which the body attacks its own tissues. Sometimes there is no reason to explain the symptoms.
- Arthritis Forms
- The two main forms:
The osteoarthritis is the most common arthritis; it is said to be “worn out”. It is degenerative arthritis . The destruction by wear and tear of the cartilage which covers and protects the bones of the joint and the appearance of small bone growths characterize this disease. It mostly affects joints that support a large part of the body weight, such as those of the hips, knees, feet and spine. Osteoarthritis is often related to age, or due to overweight or the repeated use of a joint in the practice of a sport. It rarely appears before quarantine.
The rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory disease . The joints of the hands, wrists and feet are often the first affected. Other organs can be affected because inflammation affects the entire body. This type of arthritis usually occurs at about 40 to 60 years of age, but it can occur early in adulthood. Rheumatoid arthritis is 2 to 3 times more common in women than in men. Although scientists have not yet discovered its cause, it appears to be of autoimmune origin and influenced by heredity .
Other forms of arthritis, among the most common:
Infectious arthritis. It can occur when an infection directly affects a joint and generates inflammation;
Reactive arthritis. This form of arthritis also appears as a result of infection. But in this case the infection is not directly in the joint;
Juvenile arthritis. A rare form of rheumatoid arthritis that occurs in children and adolescents, and that often subsides with age;
Psoriatic arthritis . A form of arthritis that is accompanied by skin lesions typical of psoriasis;
Gout and pseudogout: deposition of crystals in the joints, in the form of uric acid in the case of gout or calcium phosphate in the case of pseudogout, generates inflammation and pain, often in the big toe in the first place.
In all inflammatory arthritis, connective tissue is affected by inflammation . Connective tissues provide support and protection to the organs. They are found in the skin, arteries, tendons, around the organs or at the junction between two different tissues. For example, the synovial membrane, which lines the cavities of the joints, is a connective tissue.
Lupus. It is considered a form of arthritis since it is part of chronic autoimmune diseases. It is a connective tissue disease that can cause, in its most widespread and severe form, inflammation of the skin, muscles, joints, heart, lungs, kidneys, blood vessels and of the nervous system.
Scleroderma . A chronic autoimmune disease characterized by hardening of the skin and connective tissue damage. It can affect the joints and cause the typical symptoms of inflammatory arthritis. Systemic scleroderma can reach the internal organs, such as the heart, lungs, kidneys and the digestive system.
Ankylosing spondylitis. A chronic inflammation of the joints of the back vertebrae which develops gradually and causes stiffness and pain in the back, torso and hips.
Gougerot-Sjögren syndrome. A serious autoimmune disease that first affects the glands and mucous membranes of the eyes and mouth, causing a dryness of these organs by decreasing the production of tears and saliva. In its primary form, it reaches only those glands. In its secondary form, it may be associated with other autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.
Polymyositis . A rare disease that causes inflammation in the muscles, which then lose their strength.
Other diseases are related to various forms of arthritis and sometimes form in association with them, such as plantar fasciitis, fibromyalgia, Lyme disease, Paget’s disease, Raynaud’s disease and canal syndrome carpian.
Most arthritic diseases are chronic . Some will result in the deterioration of joint structures. Indeed, the stiffness decreases the mobility of the joint and the muscles that surround it atrophy, which accelerates the progression of the disease. With time, the cartilage crumbles, the bone wears out and the joint can become deformed.