Arthritis is a form of joint disorder that involves inflammation of one or more joints. The most common form, osteoarthritis (degenerative joint disease), is a result of trauma to the joint, infection of the joint, or age. Other arthritis forms are rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, and related autoimmune diseases.
Osteoarthritis can affect both the larger and the smaller joints of the body, including the hands, feet, back, hip, and knee. Osteoarthritis begins in the cartilage and eventually causes the two opposing bones to erode into each other. Initially, the condition starts with minor pain during activities, but soon the pain can be continuous and even occur while in a state of rest. The pain can be debilitating and prevent one from doing some activities. Osteoarthritis typically affects the weight-bearing joints, such as the back, spine, and pelvis. Unlike rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis is most commonly a disease of the elderly. More than 30 percent of females have some degree of osteoarthritis by age 65.
Risk factors for osteoarthritis include prior joint trauma, obesity, and a sedentary lifestyle.
Osteoarthritis, like rheumatoid arthritis, cannot be cured, but one can prevent the condition from worsening.