What is Arthritis?

2 August 2017

Arthritis is a condition that affects over 10 million people in the UK alone, affecting people of all ages, including children. It can be characterised by symptoms such as joint pain, tenderness and stiffness (particularly first thing in the morning), red skin over the affected area,  restricted movement and muscle wasting. To get a better understanding of the condition, here at WristSupports.co.uk we have created a guide to help you understand what arthritis is, who can get it, and how it can affect your wrists and other joints.

What is Arthritis?

The two most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that affects around 400,000 people in the UK. However, osteoarthritis is by far the most common type of arthritis in the UK, as the condition affects around eight million people.

Osteoarthritis affects the shock-absorbing cartilage in the joints, wearing them down and thinning them out, which means that the tendons and ligaments have to work much harder. This can cause swelling and the formation of bony spurs, called osteophytes. The severe loss of cartilage often leads to bones rubbing together as there is no longer a protective cushion, and therefore alters the shape of the joints and forces the bones out of their normal position.

Arthritis is a common condition that wears down the cartilage in the joints, causing pain and swelling

Who Gets Arthritis?

Arthritis is known to be a common condition among older people, with adults in their late 40s and over being particularly susceptible. However, it can occur at any age, with a reported 15,000 children and young people suffering from juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA). Women are also three times more likely to develop arthritis as they age, as well as those who have a history of arthritis in the family.

How Do I Know If I Have Arthritis?

Arthritis can cause pockets of fluid (mucous cysts) or bone spurs to develop around the joint. They can make the joints, particularly in the hands, take on a knobbly and bumpy appearance, and may be sensitive to the touch. As the cartilage in the joint is worn away by arthritis, the affected area may also look angular or slightly deformed. In hands, this is often displayed through crooked fingers, and if affecting the knee joints, people may develop a bow-legged appearance.

Another sign relating to arthritis is excessive fatigue, even when you have had a good night's sleep. Since it can also affect your range of motion, suffers of arthritis also find pursuing their regular household tasks much more challenging than usual.

Causes of Arthritis

There are many factors that could lead to the increased risk of developing arthritis, such as:

  • Previous injury
  • Infection
  • Smoking
  • Physically demanding work

Although these environmental factors often contribute to a person's susceptibility to contracting arthritis, you also need to take into account your genetic make up, as this can also play a big part in whether or not you develop the disease.

Medication can often help significantly reduce pain and swelling of arthritic patients

Treatment of Arthritis

Symptoms of arthritis can come on slowly, so you may not even realise you have the condition until it is too late. Once you start feeling significant pain and swelling in your joints, it is important to go see your doctor so you can figure out a treatment that's best for you. Treatments for arthritis can include:

  • Painkillers, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Steroids (in form or tablets or injections)
  • Physiotherapy
  • Surgery

Getting treatment as soon as possible will slow down the progression of the disease, and prevent your joints from becoming permanently damaged.

Wrist Supports for Arthritis

The wrists can be particularly sensitive to developing arthritis due to the joints that connect the wrist and hand. Here at WristSupports.co.uk, we offer a huge range of supports and braces that help you carry out your daily activities as you battle the condition. With professional treatment and healthy lifestyle habits, we can assure you that these supports will ease the pain on your wrists.

So what are you waiting for? Get on the road to recovery and check out our extensive range of Wrist Supports for Arthritis today!


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