About one in four adults in the US have doctor-diagnosed arthritis.

Although many of us are aware that arthritis is joint pain that feels as if it’s deep in the bones, some people aren’t aware that there are different types. There are actually lots, and every case of arthritis is different.

If you have this condition, it’s essential to understand what it means for you by knowing the difference between the types and which treatment is best.

Here are the most common types of arthritis.


Osteoarthritis is the most common type and most people diagnosed with arthritis will find that this is the one they have. It’s often called wear and tear arthritis, as it’s more common in people who are older and it has certain areas of the body it tends to affect (mainly the hands, knees, and hips).

This occurs when the joint cartilage breaks down.

Although age is the main risk factor, there are others. Repetitive overuse of a joint throughout life can be a major risk factor for osteoarthritis, and genetics also play a part in the increased risk of developing this disorder.

While there is no cure for osteoarthritis, pain medication can lessen the symptoms. Sufferers are also often advised to lose weight and gently increase physical activity to strengthen the muscles for support and ensure there’s less strain on any affected joints.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is quite different from osteoarthritis despite them both being types of the same condition. Rheumatoid arthritis is when your immune system attacks healthy cells which causes arthritis symptoms. There are different rheumatic diseases, but rheumatoid arthritis usually affects the joints.

It can, however, affect organ tissue and other things in the body.

You can usually feel a difference in the symptoms between rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis because, with RA, you’ll feel the pain in more than one joint. Many people who suffer from this condition feel pain in both sides of their body at the same time and it feels like a mirrored injury.

The good news is that there are many drugs that can treat this condition, to help manage the immune system and stop it from attacking healthy cells. While no one knows the initial cause — like many types of arthritis — there are some increased risk factors, like genetics and age.


No one knows the cause of fibromyalgia, but it’s one of the different types of arthritis that many people aren’t aware of. It causes pain not just in one specific joint but all over the body and can be a very debilitating condition.

As well as pain, it can cause tingling sensations around the body and digestive problems. Because it has such a wide range of seemingly unrelated symptoms, it’s easy to misdiagnose it as something else unless you see a professional for them to figure out the root cause.

Although no one knows the cause, there are a number of risk factors. Those with rheumatoid arthritis may develop fibromyalgia after time and those with lupus can too. Lupus is often mistaken for a type of arthritis, but it’s not — although it can certainly develop into one.

There’s no known cure, but the main way to treat it involves over-the-counter pain medications and a doctor can prescribe something stronger if you need it. Therapy and stress management techniques can also help, as stress often worsens the symptoms.

Childhood Arthritis

No one knows exactly what causes childhood arthritis, but it’s most likely a problem with the immune system. Joints become inflamed and painful, making it difficult for a child to enjoy their everyday life.

In severe cases, it can cause permanent damage and a child may end up disabled. That’s why it’s important to get it diagnosed early if you see signs of this in a child.

The symptoms are very much the same as arthritis in an adult, with the primary one being joint pain. If caught earlier, a professional may be able to help get the disease into permanent remission. That means the child won’t experience any more pain though usually a medical professional can’t reverse the damage that’s already been done.


Unlike childhood arthritis, gout affects one joint at a time and is most common in the big toe. It can go away for periods of time and then seemingly randomly return, though, over time, it will likely get worse.

As well as pain, the joint will usually swell and become red.

Gout is treated the same way as any other arthritis, with lifestyle changes to try and put less strain on the joint (such as losing weight) and pain medication. Some previous conditions put people at a worsening risk for gout, including:

  • High blood pressure
  • Heart failure
  • Diabetes
  • Poor kidney function

That’s why it’s also important to treat the symptoms of these in an attempt to prevent more flare-ups, such as taking medication for high blood pressure. If gout gets worse and isn’t managed well, it can develop into gouty arthritis which means more frequent flare-ups.

These Are the Most Common Types of Arthritis

There are many types of arthritis, each of them with different (but often similar) symptoms and treatment plans. If you suspect you may have arthritis, the best thing to do is see a medical professional who can diagnose the condition and get you started on a treatment plan to make you feel better and banish that joint pain.

Need help with arthritis or suspected arthritis in Georgia? Contact us today and let’s see what we can do for you.