There are several different kinds of arthritis, though they all involve problems with the joints. Osteoarthritis is the result of natural wear and tear on joints. It typically affects joints that support weight or are frequently used. Another form of arthritis is called post-traumatic arthritis and is the result of trauma to the joint. Finally, rheumatoid arthritis is caused by the immune system attacking the tissue in the joint. This form of arthritis can affect any joint in the body and usually leads to redness, swelling and tenderness in the joint.
Effects on Joints
Joints are areas in the body where multiple bones come in close contact with each other. In order to protect the bones, joints typically have both cartilage and a protective fluid called synovium. In patients with arthritis, the cartilage and the synovium can become damaged. Sometimes this is a result of wear and tear on the cartilage. Other times the cartilage can be physically torn off by sudden stress. The cartilage can also be killed off by the immune system, which can also invade the synovium and fill it with white blood cells. Regardless, all kinds of arthritis lead to pain and decreased motion in the joint.
Arthritis and the Skeletal System
The cartilage and synovium in the joint works to protect the bones in the joint from making direct contact with each other. When there is bone-on-bone contact, the bones can become damaged due to friction. The friction can cause pain and additional swelling in the joint, and it can also lead to small bony growths called bone spurs. Bone spurs develop because stress and friction on bones causes more bone to be made to reinforce the site of stress. However, these bone growths may only increase the friction between bones and lead to additional joint damage.