What is arthritis?

Arthritis occurs when the joint(s) of the body become inflamed, triggering pain and inflammation of the local tissues associated with the joint, such as the tendons, ligament and capsules.

What types are there?

There are 2 specific forms of Arthritis. Degenerative Arthritis (Osteoarthritis) and Inflammatory Arthritis.

Degenerative (Osteoarthritis)

This occurs due to degenerative changes to the cartilage, found covering the ends of the bones. The ends of the bone where the cartilage is situated should have a smooth, non-abrasive consistency which allows the minimal amount of friction between the two bones of the joint. When these degenerative changes start to occur, the cartilage can become thin and rough textured. The underneath bone from the cartilage is known as the sub-chondral region, which will attempt to repair the damage, however, this can cause an over growth of the bone tissue, therefor altering the shape of the joint line and interfering with the functioning of the joint. This then develops into Osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis usually affects the larger weight-bearing joints such as the knees and hips, but is also common in the wrists and hands. This tends to affect older people and is also thought to be influenced by changes in the weather, like the damp, wet, cold conditions of winter.

What are the symptoms of Osteoarthritis?

  • Joint pain
  • Joint swelling
  • Stiffness within the joints (especially in the morning, that improves with movement)
  • Joint deformity (this can be seen in the fingers in moderate to advanced cases as the fingers become crooked.)
  • Lumps and bumps around joints. (Arthritis can also cause the formation of pockets of fluid, Mucous cysts and bone spurs, which can be felt as knobbly near the joint).
  • Grinding and grating of the joint on movement (Known as Crepitus).
  • Joint tenderness to touch.
  • Heat and redness around the joint.

Inflammatory Arthritis

This type of Arthritis is caused by the immune system (body’s defence system) attacking its own joints and soft tissues, which as a result can cause a considerable amount of joint damage and tissue inflammation. This is why this Arthritis is known as a autoimmune disease or inflammatory Arthritis. There is a resultant pain and stiffness to follow. The local tissues such as the joint capsule, ligaments and tendons can also become inflamed in this process, affecting multiple joints, with some systemic effects present such as flu-like symptoms. This Arthritis tends to exacerbate and remit throughout the year depending on many factors such as the persons health, stress levels. It can affect the whole body and happen at almost any age.

Symptoms of the inflammatory Arthritis

  • This can mimic some of the symptoms of Osteoarthritis, as with heat, redness, and swelling of the joint. However, the inflammation tends to last much longer than the joint with Osteoarthritis.
  • Symmetrical pain
  • Usually affects the peripheral joints, such as the hands and feet but can be in the larger joints.
  • The effects are far more noticeable than Osteoarthritis, and can affect some of the soft tissues of the organs.
  • Fatigue and low-grade fever.


A picture of the joints of the human body affected by Arthritis

A picture of the joints of the human body affected by Arthritis


Common forms of inflammatory arthritis are:

  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Ankylosing spondylitis
  • Psoriatic arthritis
  • Reactive arthritis
  • Enteric Arthropathies


What could Osteopathy help with?

 Arthritic changes to the joints can bring about stiffness, making the local muscles tense and painful. Osteopathy could help with this by identifying and treating the muscles that are tight, and the underlying cause, further reducing the chances of a re-occurrence too soon.

Osteopathic techniques can also help by increasing the joints mobility and flexibility, which could reduce further strains on other parts of the body that may be compensating, also helping to improve the local circulation around the joint.

Useful Links

  • www.arthritisresearchuk.org
  • www.webmd.com
  • www.nhs.uk
  • www.arthritis.org
  • www.osteopathy.org


feel free to call me at:

Hazel Grove Osteopathic Surgery on 0161 483 6986 for appointments on Wednesday Friday and Saturday. 302 London road, Hazel Grove, SK7 4RF.

Warrington Osteopaths on 01925 573300 for appointments on Tuesday and Thursday. 7 bold street, Warrington, Cheshire, WA1 1DN

Moreton Osteopaths on 0151 6788833 for appointments on Monday. 29 Upton road, Moreton, Wirral, Cheshire CH46 0PE

Alternately we offer a home visit service if more appropriate, covering the areas of Cheadle Hulme, Stockport, Handforth, Heald green, Wilmslow, and Didsbury. call 07858 602277 or email info@alanjohnsonosteopathy.co.uk.

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