There are several types of arthritis. They all involve chronic inflammation of one or more joints. The type of arthritis is determined by what is causing the symptoms.
Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common type of arthritis. It is caused by breakdown of the cartilage that protects the ends of bones where they form a joint. This leads to pain and inflammation.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is another common type of arthritis. It is an autoimmune disorder. The immune system attacks the joints, causing inflammation.
Your primary care doctor will likely conduct tests to pinpoint the kind of arthritis you might have. Imaging tests can also be used to determine the severity of arthritis.
For most people, a diagnosis of OA begins with a medical history and a physical exam. The physical exam will look for:
- noises when you move your joints
- swelling in the joints
- loss of range of motion
- tenderness in the joints
- pain during movement
Your doctor will also ask questions about when you have pain and how symptoms are affecting your daily life.