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Arthritis is the inflammation of a synovial joint (e.g. knee, wrist, elbow, fingers, toe, hip, shoulder), usually accompanied by pain, stiffness, redness and a limited range of movement. Arthritis refers to a group of conditions that can affect the joints and have other external manifestations. Common forms of arthritis include osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, psoriatic arthritis, infectious arthritis and Sjogren’s syndrome. Osteoarthritis involves the degeneration of cartilage (usually following an injury), which allows two bones to come in contact with each other, causing pain and the formation of bony outgrowths (osteophytes). Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition, where the body views a component of the synovial joint as “foreign” and designs antibodies to destruct the synovial pathogen.

Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis: Aside from the pain and inflammation of joints, rheumatoid arthritis can have external manifestations such as anaemia, weight loss, fatigue, fever and crippling pain.

Risk factors for gout: obesity, overeating, stress, surgery, joint injury, excessive alcohol intake, hypertension and kidney disease.

Risk factors for osteoarthritis: joint trauma, obesity and repetitive use of a joint.

Who to consult: Acupuncturist, dietician, homoeopath, occupational therapist, naturopath, podiatrist, psychologist.