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How Arthritis Symptoms Affect Your Joints

Joints are what enable your body to flex and move about. But when arthritis symptoms strike, those joints can become painful, swollen, and stiff.

By Diana Rodriguez

Medically Reviewed by Cynthia Haines, MD

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Running down the street, typing on your computer, or bending down to pick upsomething — do you ever wonder what makes your body so flexible? Our bones are all linked by joints. Some, like your knees and elbows, connect the big parts; others connect the small parts, like toes and fingers. You may not think much about your joints or joint health … until arthritis symptoms strike.

Types of Joints

Joints connect bones and, in turn, enable our bodies to move freely, or protect certain areas from moving about too much. If our bones were fused together, we wouldn't be able to move around and do all of the many different things we do.

The body has many types of joints, distinguished by the way that they move and the parts they connect. These include:

  • Ball-and-socket joints.These are the big joints that you may think of first; your hips and shoulders are good examples. Ball-and-socket joints allow for a full range of movement and rotation because of the way these bones fit together; think of how you can swing your arms and legs in circles. These joints also allow you to move your limbs closer to and farther away from your body — motions known as adduction and abduction.
  • Hinge joints.These kinds of joints include areas such as your knees, fingers, and elbows. They don't allow for rotation like ball and socket joints, rather they only permit one-directional motions. They allow you to flex (bend) or extend (straighten) the joints. "Flexion" means bringing body parts closer together using the joint, like bending your knee to touch your heel to your buttocks.
  • Pivot joints.These joints, like those that connect your head and neck, allow you to move back and forth, from side to side, and twist around. They offer the ability to make some, but not full, rotations.
  • Ellipsoidal joints.The wrist is a good example of an ellipsoidal joint, which allows free movement and flexion, but not pivotal rotating motion.

Joint Movement Categories

Joints can also be categorized according to how they move. These categories include:

  • Freely movable joints.Also called synovial joints, these joints allow for free movement. Good examples are ball-and-socket and hinge joints: shoulders, elbows, knees, ankles, wrists, and hips.
  • Partially movable joints.Also called cartilaginous joints, these offer a little bit of flexibility and motion, but not a lot. Think of your spine and the limited movements it allows.
  • Immovable joints.These are joints that don't move at all. Also called fibrous joints or fixed joints, these are found in between the plates of the skull and between the jaw and teeth.

How Arthritis Symptoms Can Affect Joints

Arthritis is a term used to describe inflammation of the joints. Cartilage is a type of body tissue that keeps joints moving freely and functioning well. When that cartilage begins to break down or gets inflamed, the joints don't work as well, and they become painful.

The most common type of arthritis, osteoarthritis, can bring on the following arthritis symptoms:

  • Pain
  • Limited motion or loss of motion in a joint or joints
  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Heat in the joints

Damage may occur to the joints and lead to osteoarthritis because of:

  • Advancing age
  • Carrying excess weight
  • Repetitive stress and motion of a joint
  • Injury to a joint

When arthritis strikes, it can leave joints feeling stiff and painful and keep you from getting around as you normally would. Treatment is necessary to repair these joints and get you moving again. Arthritis medication can help manage the inflammation causing your joint problems, while surgery may be needed to replace or repair badly damaged joints.

So the next time you pick up your cell phone, kick a soccer ball, or wave to your neighbor, thank your joints, and think about what you can do to protect them over the long term.






Video: 5 Warning Signs of Rheumatoid Arthritis

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Date: 01.12.2018, 00:24 / Views: 93554