TUESDAY, April 18, 2023 (HealthDay News) -- Most people think of joint pain when they think of arthritis but, depending on the type of arthritis, other symptoms can crop up.
Here's how to spot some of the most common signs of different types of arthritis.
Arthritis can cause painful symptoms that make daily activities challenging, according to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS).
Dr. Paul DeMarco, NIAMS Rheumatoid Fellowship Training Program director, explained that “it is extremely important to understand the type of arthritis afflicting the sufferer, as some arthritis syndromes have effects throughout the body.”
To help you better understand just how arthritis can affect the body, here is a list of eight of the most common types:
Here are some common arthritis symptoms, broken down by the type of arthritis the patient has:
Inflammatory arthritis symptoms
Inflammatory arthritis occurs when an overactive immune system causes joint inflammation, according to the Hospital for Special Surgery (HHS), in New York City.
Symptoms of inflammatory arthritis include:
Pain and stiffness, especially in the morning or after periods of inactivity
Warm sensations in and around affected joints
Joint swelling and redness
Inflammation of the skin or internal organs
These symptoms are often experienced as strong flare-ups, followed by a period of inactivity.
Psoriatic arthritis symptoms
Psoriatic arthritis (PsA) is a type of inflammatory arthritis, and it usually happens to people with psoriasis, according to NIAMS.
Psoriatic arthritis symptoms include:
Joint stiffness, pain and swelling, especially in the morning
Soreness in spots where tendons attach to bones
Inflammatory bowel disease
Nail crumbling, separating or denting
Flaky, swollen patches of skin
"PsA is usually not found on the same joints on both sides of the body, so it is asymmetric,” DeMarco noted.
Rheumatoid arthritis symptoms
Rheumatoid arthritis is also a type of inflammatory arthritis. More specifically, it’s an autoimmune disease, meaning the immune system attacks its own joint tissues. It can occur throughout the body, but usually affects the hands, wrists and feet, according to NIAMS.
Rheumatoid arthritis symptoms include:
Joint stiffness that lasts longer than half an hour
Joint pain and inflammation
Loss of appetite
Nodules, or lumps beneath the skin
Medical issues in the lungs, heart, skin, nerves and eyes
Unlike PsA, rheumatoid arthritis typically occurs in the same joints on both sides of the body.
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis, affecting over 32 million U.S. adults, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It’s caused by wear and tear on joint cartilage as people age.
“Symptoms tend to occur more slowly over time, first occurring every now and then, and then becoming more chronic,” Scripps Clinic rheumatologist Dr. Kavitta Allem said in a recent interview for San Diego Health.
NIAMS states that osteoarthritis symptoms may include:
Joint stiffness that lasts less than half an hour
Pain and swelling during and immediately after activity
Unstable sensations in the joints
Scraping noises when walking, particularly in the knees
Radiating pain down the legs
Stiffness in the lower back and neck
Bone spurs (enlargements) in the hands
Difficulty standing and sitting
Fatigue, insomnia and depression
Gout is also a type of inflammatory arthritis, caused by too much uric acid in the blood. This triggers crystals to form on the joints. The CDC states that it usually affects just one joint at a time, usually in a foot, ankle, or knee.
Gout symptoms include:
Inflammation and warmth
“The joints that have gout, the symptoms come on very suddenly, generally over the course of a night,” Allem noted.
Juvenile arthritis symptoms
The Arthritis Foundation explains that juvenile arthritis is a group of arthritis conditions that affect children under the age of 16.
Although symptoms may vary, here are some of the most common:
Joint pain, tenderness, stiffness and warmth, especially after a period of inactivity
Shortness of breath (when the lungs are affected)
Diarrhea and bloating (when the digestive tract is affected)
Infectious arthritis symptoms
Infectious arthritis (septic arthritis) is caused by a bacterial, viral or fungal infection of the joint tissues and fluids. More children are affected than adults, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
The symptoms of infectious arthritis include:
Joint tenderness, inflammation, warmth and pain
Limited range of motion
Reactive arthritis symptoms
NIAMS states that reactive arthritis occurs due to an infection, but symptoms don’t start until the infection is cleared up. They may include:
Joint pain and stiffness, especially in the lower limbs
Eye and urinary tract inflammation
Inflamed fingers and toes
Abdominal pain and diarrhea
Nails that thicken
When to seek help for arthritis symptoms
“If you’re feeling swelling or pain in your joints, or something is limiting your ability to be active, you should see a doctor,” Allem explained. “There are new treatments for arthritis to help you feel better and get back to what you enjoy.”