Common Types of Arthritis: Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis & More

Editor's Note: This article has been recently updated with latest information and research studies.

What are Common Types of Arthritis?

Arthritis is a common disease related to joint inflammation. Such inflammations are generally caused due to any injury or disease. They result in swelling accompanied by pain and stiffness. In case of arthritis, the inflammation lasts for a long time and is recurrent in nature. Arthritis is joint inflammation that causes tissue damage over a prolonged period.

A joint is an area where two or more bones are interconnected. These areas are supported by ligaments, cartilage, and synovial fluid that protect and support the joints. In arthritis, the areas surrounding the joints become inflamed, causing pain and difficulty in motion.

There are two major types of arthritis – osteoarthritis and inflammatory arthritis. Osteoarthritis is caused due to wear and tear of the cartilage while inflammatory arthritis is a condition where the body’s immune system stops functioning.


It is the most commonly occurring type of arthritis. It is the condition where the cartilage covering the joints wears off. The cartilage may also degenerate or break down due to overuse or aging. This increases* the friction between the bones, which results in pain with or without swelling. Osteoarthritis generally occurs in the hand joints, hip joints, knee joints, and facet joints. It normally occurs in the joints that bear the weight of your body.

Inflammatory Arthritis

It is a condition when your immune system functions against your own body instead of fighting against viruses, germs, and other foreign particles. Your immune system attacks the cells and tissues of your own body and weakens your body to a great extent. This disease can occur at any age and it can affect your entire body. Inflammatory arthritis is different from osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a condition where the cartilage covering the joint wears out. The truth is that not much cure* is available for inflammatory arthritis. Although health experts are trying to find out drugs that are curative and not just preventive in nature.

There are three common forms of inflammatory arthritis, namely-

Rheumatoid Arthritis

It is a long-term disease that generally occurs in the joints of wrists, hands, and knees. With the exception of lower back joints, it can occur in any part of the body. The immune system attacks the body cells and it causes the linings of the joints to swell. Eventually, it damages the cartilage and then the bone itself. Doctors have reported that this arthritis also affects other body parts like the nerves, skin, eyes, and lungs. In this case, inflammation can also cause weight loss* and reduced* appetite.

Psoriatic Arthritis

It is a kind of disease in which the patient suffers from the inflammation of skin as well as the joints. It is a condition associated with or triggered by psoriasis. It is a chronic disorder characterized by patches of red and white skin inflammation accompanied by scaling. It generally affects the scalp, the navel, or the areas around the genitalia. Typically, it occurs at the elbow tips and the knees.

Psoriatic arthritis causes the following:

  • Swelling of toes
  • Swelling of fingers
  • Swelling of the spine.
  • Swelling of the knee joints.
  • Discoloration of the nails

Experts comment that in 80 percent of the cases, the condition of psoriatic arthritis is preceded by psoriasis. It usually strikes at the age of 30 to 50.

Ankylosing Spondylitis

It is the arthritis caused in the spine. It is characterized by swelling in the joints between the vertebrae of your spinal cord and in the joints connecting the pelvis and the spine. It is also a chronic immune disease. It generally strikes men and is sometimes passed hereditarily. The symptoms can be:

  • Intense pain in the back
  • Stiffness
  • Impaired movement

This kind of arthritis has no cure* so far but there are medicines that can control the pain and swelling. Health experts recommend many exercises for this condition of arthritis.

Infectious Arthritis

This type of arthritis results from infection in the joints. It can be caused by viral, or fungal infection. Along with the normal symptoms of arthritis, it also causes fever and chills.

Septic Arthritis

It is the condition of infection in the joints. Septic arthritis also occurs due to various infectious microorganisms transmitted to different body parts through the blood stream. The joint may also be infected directly during a surgery or an injury. It usually affects the knee and hip joints.


It is a painful disease in which the body is unable to eliminate* uric acid. This uric acid is a naturally occurring substance in the body. Excess uric acid accumulates in the joints as crystals forming a needle shape. It causes intense pain and swelling in the joints. Gout mostly occurs in the wrists, knee, and big toe joints.

Reactive Arthritis

It is a condition affecting the joints, the urethra, and the eyes. These areas swell and become inflamed due to any kind of infection. While the cause of this type of arthritis is unknown, chlamydia or salmonella infections generally result in reactive arthritis. It usually affects men approaching 40. The common symptoms involve burning sensation while urinating, leakage or discharge from the urethra, and frequent urination. In some cases, fever and discharge from the eyes can also be seen.

Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis

It is a condition that occurs in children aged 16 years of age or below. It can affect any joint and result in swelling, stiffness, and intense pain. It can even affect internal organs like the lungs and the heart.

A prominent sign of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis is limping. Other symptoms might come and go. Scientists have termed it as an autoimmune disorder that might cause growth disorders in the affected children.