Types of Arthritis

The word arthritis refers to the inflammation of the joints (with arthron meaning joint in Greek). While rheumatism is a generic term referring to the aches and pains in our bones, muscles and joints, rheumatic diseases refers to all kinds of arthritis and rheumatism.

Primarily, there are four groups of rheumatic diseases:

Inflammatory arthritis:

Here, the synovial membrane that surrounds the joint grows inflamed. It can damage the cartilage and bone below, but if you treat it in the early stages, you can prevent this.

Rheumatoid arthritis:

This is the commonest type of inflammatory. Other types include ankylosing spondylitis, gout, reactive arthritis, arthritis associated with psoriasis and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).


In this condition, the cartilage in the joints becomes badly damaged. This can be a fallout of an injury or because of unusual stress on the joints or disease, but it could also be due to age or for no definite reason.

Soft tissue rheumatism:

Even though the joint is normal and undamaged, you might still experience joint pain. This is due to damage to the surrounding ligaments and tendons. As a result, you will find one part of the bone hurting, for example, a tennis elbow or frozen shoulder.

Other types of arthritis:

Altogether, there are about 200 kinds of arthritis affecting people of all ages and the symptoms vary and affect different part of the body. The most common are:

Ankylosing spondylitis:

This is the No. 3 type of arthritis in terms of popularity after osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. If you suffer from it, you will experience inflammation in the spine and pelvis, leading to stiffening of the joints and immobility. Your neck, shoulders, knees and eyes can also be affected to some extent. According to research, ankylosing spondylitis affects men more than women.

Reactive arthritis:

If you have an infection in a certain part of your body, you will experience a temporary inflammation of the joints as a reaction to this infection in another part of your body, for example, in the bowel. There may be a delayed onset of arthritis here, which usually goes away by itself.

Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE):

Though uncommon, this disease, sometimes known as lupus, is known to affect nine times as many women as men. It begins by It causing an inflammation of the joints and skin and goes on to other organs too, such as the kidneys and lungs. Though potentially very serious, it can be controlled with medication.


Uric acid crystals developing in the joints, particularly the big toe, ankles, hands and wrists, cause this. It is very painful, but can be treated with appropriate medication and a change in diet.

Polymyalgia rheumatica:

This inflammatory condition usually affects the muscles and soft tissues in the shoulder and upper arm, buttocks and thighs. It leads to one feeling tired, stiff, and causes one to lose weight and have problems of blood circulation.

Spinal Osteoarthritis or Spondylosis:

Spondylosis is a degenerative disorder that affects the structure and function of a normal spine. This can be marked with pain and inflammation in the thoracic (back) region of the spine caused due to arthritis.