Arthritis symptoms: Which condition signs match YOUR joint pain?

Arthritis affects about 10 million people in the UK, including people of all ages.

The causes, treatments and symptoms vary between each type of arthritis, so it’s important to determine which type of arthritis you have.

Your GP will diagnose the type of arthritis by asking about your symptoms, and how they’ve developing. Tests may be arranged to confirm the diagnosis.

The most common type of arthritis in the UK is osteoarthritis, which affects about eight million people.

Other types of arthritis include rheumatoid arthritis, gout, spondylarthropathies, lupus erythematosus, and infectious arthritis.

Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis affects the cartilage lining the joints, making movement more difficult than usual.

It most commonly affects the hands, spine, knees, hips.

Symptoms of the condition include joint pain, morning stiffness, inflammation, and lack of co-ordination.

Rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease, where the body’s immune system attacks healthy joints by mistake.

Three times as many women as men have the condition, which affects about 400,000 people in the UK.

Symptoms to watch out for include numbness and tingling in the hands and feet, sleep difficulties, and nodules under the skin on the shins, according to medical website Healthline.

Gout

Gout is caused by a build-up of crystals inside the joints and could be caused by high levels of uric acid in the blood.

Between one and two people, out of every 100, are affected by gout in the UK, the NHS said.

Swollen toes, feet and ankles are all signs of gout, but it can also cause redness and intense pain over the joints. 

Symptoms can feel worse over 12 to 24 hour periods, but there’s always an underlying pain.

Spondylarthropathies

Spondylarthropathies are auto-immune conditions, where the body attacks the tendons and ligaments attached to bones.

The spine is the most likely bone to be affected by the conditions, although it’s also been reported to affect hands and feet.

Symptoms include pain and stiffness, particularly in the lower back.

Lupus erythematosus

Lupus is an auto-immune condition affecting the skin, brain, kidneys, and other organs.

The disease tends to get worse as it progresses, and is more common in those from an African or Asian descent.

Joint pain and swelling are common signs of the condition, but it can also cause chest pain, mouth sores, hair loss and sensitivity to light.

Fatigue, fever, swollen lymph nodes and facial skin rashes are also symptoms of lupus erythematosus.

Infectious arthritis

Infectious arthritis - also known as septic arthritis - is caused by a bacteria or viral infection spreading to a joint.

The infection usually starts somewhere else in the body, and spreads to a joint in the blood stream.

It usually only occurs in one single joint. But, that one, single joint tends to be one of the larger ones; a knee, hip or shoulder, for example.

A severe pain linked to movement is a major sign of infectious arthritis.

Other symptoms include chills, raised heart rate, warmth and redness around the joint, swelling and a loss of appetite.



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