Arthritis refers to the inflammation of one or more joints, which results in joint pain, stiffness and even deformity. It varies in severity and can be debilitating in the advanced stages, possibly requiring a joint replacement altogether. Arthritis encompasses over 100 conditions affecting the joints, the surrounding tissues, and other connective tissues.

Common Types of Arthritis

Osteoarthritis (OA)Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint condition that occurs when the cartilage between bones wears away. Often affecting the hands, hips, and knees, it is the most common form of arthritis.

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease where the body's immune system mistakenly attacks healthy joint tissue, causing pain, stiffness, redness, and swelling. It often occurs symmetrically, affecting corresponding joints on both sides of the body.

GoutGout occurs as flares, resulting from elevated uric acid levels in the blood and tissues. Excessive uric acid leads to the formation of tiny crystals that deposit in joints, causing pain, swelling, redness, and heat in the affected joints.

Psoriatic Arthritis (PsA)Psoriatic arthritis is a progressive autoimmune condition that often affects people with psoriasis – a chronic skin disease characterised by scaly red and white patches. This joint condition may develop before or after psoriasis.

Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS)Ankylosing spondylitis is a type of arthritis that affects joints and ligaments of the spine. This can cause stiffness and, in severe cases, cause the bones to fuse, resulting in a rigid and inflexible spine.

If you have painful joints, you are not alone.

Reach out to our orthopaedic specialist at 62355225 for personalised advice today.

Symptoms of Arthritis

Common symptoms of arthritis include:

  • Joint pain
  • Joint stiffness
  • Joint swelling and tenderness
  • Joint redness
  • Joint warmth
  • Grinding sensation as the joint moves

Symptoms of arthritis vary based on its location. Symptoms can be persistent for some and occasional for others. Arthritis tends to have flare-ups, during which joint symptoms worsen temporarily.

Causes of Arthritis

Common causes that contribute to the development of arthritis include:

  • Injury: Past trauma or joint injuries can lead to the development of arthritis in the future. For example, a joint injury may accelerate the breakdown of cartilage.
  • Autoimmune Factors: Conditions like rheumatoid arthritis are characterised by the body's immune system attacking its own tissues, leading to joint inflammation and damage.
  • Infection: Some forms of arthritis, such as reactive arthritis, can be triggered by infections. Microbial agents like bacteria and viruses may cause an inflammatory response in the joints.

Risk Factors of Arthritis

Risk factors of arthritis increase the likelihood of its occurrence. Some risk factors, like our habits, can be changed or managed, while others are inherent and beyond immediate control.

Modifiable Risk Factors

  • Occupation: Occupations that involve repetitive joint movements or exposure to joint stress can contribute to the development of arthritis. This is particularly true for those engaged in physically demanding or repetitive tasks.
  • Sports: Repetitive stress and trauma from sports activities can contribute to joint damage and arthritis, especially in athletes engaged in contact sports like rugby or repetitive-motion sports like long-distance running.
  • Lifestyle: Excess weight or obesity can place increased stress on joints, raising the likelihood of developing osteoarthritis. Furthermore, physical inactivity and poor posture contribute to the risk of arthritis, while smoking is associated with an elevated risk of rheumatoid arthritis.

Non-Modifiable Risk Factors

  • Age: Osteoarthritis tends to affect adults older than 50 while rheumatoid arthritis usually develops in adults aged 30 to 60.
  • Gender: Some types of arthritis, such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, are more prevalent in women, especially during menopause.
  • Genetics: Some forms of arthritis, like rheumatoid arthritis, have a genetic component. Individuals with a family history of certain types of arthritis may be more susceptible to developing the condition.

Diagnosing Arthritis

It is possible to have multiple types of arthritis simultaneously, which makes it crucial to consult a doctor to determine if arthritis is the culprit behind your joint pain and other symptoms. The diagnosis involves various methods, including:

  • Medical History Assessment: Your doctor will ask you a series of questions regarding your symptoms, general health, family history, and habits to better evaluate your situation.
  • Physical Examination: This involves checking the affected joints for signs of swelling, redness, or tenderness and may involve a range of motion tests.
  • Imaging Tests: X-rays are the most commonly used imaging test, but ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may also be used to check for signs of inflammation, erosion or other joint issues.
  • Lab Tests: Lab testing for arthritis includes assessing blood, urine and joint fluid can help to diagnose specific types of arthritis.

Treatment Options for Arthritis

While arthritis does not have a cure, the objective of treatment is to reduce the severity and frequency of flare-ups. These include:


  • Analgesics for pain relief
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to reduce pain and inflammation
  • Corticosteroids or disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) to suppress the immune system for rheumatoid arthritis
  • Xanthine Oxidase Inhibitors to lower uric acid levels for gout

Lifestyle Changes

  • Maintain a healthy weight: Losing weight, if necessary, can reduce the strain on joints and alleviate arthritis symptoms.
  • Regular exercise: Low-impact exercises such as walking, swimming, or cycling can improve joint flexibility and reduce stiffness. Exercise also helps strengthen the muscles around the joints, providing better support.
  • Eat Healthily: Adopting a diet filled with diverse anti-inflammatory foods—like omega-3-rich fish, colourful fruits and veggies, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and legumes—can help manage arthritis symptoms.
  • Quit Smoking: Smoking has been linked to an increased risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis. Quitting smoking can not only reduce this risk but also improve overall health.


Physiotherapy can help improve mobility and function for individuals affected by arthritis. Your physiotherapist can achieve this through a combination of the following strategies:

  • Improving joint mobility through techniques such as manual therapy and stretching exercises to improve range of motion.
  • Strengthening muscles around the affected joints through customised exercise programmes to enhance stability and reduce strain.
  • Balance exercises address instability caused by arthritis, improving coordination, and reducing the risk of falls.
  • Posture adjustment guidance for optimal posture and body mechanics to distribute forces evenly and reduce stress on joints.
  • Joint assistive devices, such as braces and orthotics, help to support and stabilise affected joints, relieving pain and preventing further damage.

With a targeted arthritis treatment plan, it is possible to regain an active lifestyle.

Book an appointment with Dr Yung at 62355225 to get started.

Surgical Options

In cases of severe arthritis where joint damage significantly affects mobility, there are several surgical options, including:

  • Arthroscopy: Repair and removal of damaged cartilage or soft tissue around the joint.
  • Joint Resurfacing: Partial replacement of the knee or hip joint.
  • Osteotomy: Cutting and removing bone or adding a wedge of bone near a damaged joint.
  • Synovectomy: Removal of the inflamed or overgrown lining of the joints (synovium).
  • Arthrodesis/Fusion: Joining two or more bones to form a singular, sturdier but less flexible joint.
  • Total Joint Replacement (TJR): Replacement of a damaged joint with an implant.
  • Joint Revision: Replacement of a failed, infected, or worn-out implant with a new one.

Your well-being is our priority.

Reach out to our clinic today at 62355225 to take a step towards comfort and relief from arthritis.

FAQs about Arthritis

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