In a normal joint structure, every bone that forms a part of the joint has a cartilage tissue that covers its surface. Arthritis is a painful disease that obstructs joint mobility and causes destruction in the bone and cartilage tissue. It is caused by a decrease in the synovial fluid which provides mobility in the synovial cavity, a damage in the articular surface and a disorder in the joint structure. The degeneration or aging of the joint is also a cause of arthritis. The decrease in synovial fluid which provides lubricity, and the structural deterioration in the bone and cartilage creates soreness.
The most common and important symptom of arthritis is pain. It tends to increase by joint activity and decrease by rest during the first phases of disease. It turns into chronic pain regardless of joint activity as the disease progresses. It also reduces joint activity, creates swelling and deformity in joints. Sounds can be heard due to the frictions of articular surfaces.
DIAGNOSIS OF ARTRITIS
The information gathered from patients medical history and physical examination provides first steps to diagnose arthritis. Feeling pain in inguinal region or in the outer region of hips or in the inner region of thighs and knees are symptoms for hip arthritis (coxarthrosis). Sounds may be heard from hip joint due to frictions between bones.
Knee arthritis includes pain and vulnerability in the knees, calves and ankles. These patients have a hard time climbing up stairs and standing up while seated. First phases involve pains in standing up for long times, or after walks. The pains are relieved after rest. But as the arthritis progresses, walking distances become shorter and more painful. Arthritis in the knee joint causes destruction in the cartilage tissue and meniscus tears due to corrosion.
Shoulder arthiritis involves pain in the shoulders and a limited range of motion. The patient suffers a lot of pain when he tries to reach his shoulders or the backwards of his head or his lower back. The patient may also complain about stiffness in the shoulder. The pain level may increase in cold nights with moist air.
After medical history and physical examination, the damage in joints and joint spacing are analyzed via x-ray. The complaints of the patient may not always be in coherence with images obtained from x-ray. It is possible to receive complaints of pain from patients with no apparent anomaly in the bone structure as well as to see uncomplaining patients with apparent breakdown in the bone structure.