Arthritis literally means "inflammation of a joint.” A joint is where the ends of two or more bones meet. A smooth tissue of cartilage covers the ends of bones in a joint. Cartilage cushions the bone and allows the joint to move easily without the friction that would come with bone-on-bone contact.
There are two major categories of arthritis. Osteoarthritis is caused by wear and tear on the articular cartilage through the natural aging process, constant use, or trauma. Rheumatoid arthritis affects many parts of the body, but mainly the joints. The joint lining swells, invading surrounding tissues, causing swelling, pain and stiffness.
DOC orthopedists, after a thorough examination to determine the type and severity of arthritis, X-rays and other imaging, and laboratory tests may recommend anti-inflammatory medications or injections to help relieve pain and inflammation. Surgery for arthritis is only performed when nonsurgical treatments fail to relieve pain and other symptoms.