Three Common Types of Arthritis

Doctor providing wrist sprain treatment in Kansas City

Rheumatologist consulting with patientArthritis, which refers to chronic joint inflammation, is the leading cause of disability in the United States, affecting more than 50 million adults and 300,000 children. Often thought of as a single disease, there actually are more than 100 types of arthritis, with no known cause or cure. Although swelling, pain and stiffness are common complaints overall, the severity and location of symptoms among the different types of arthritis can vary, as well as treatment options and disease management.

Three of the most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis, psoriatic arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. In honor of National Arthritis Awareness Month, let’s take a deeper look at the three conditions:


Osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis, is a degenerative joint disease. It is sometimes called “wear-and-tear” arthritis because it often is seen in people as they reach middle age and older. Osteoarthritis develops as the cartilage that cushions the ends of the bones between the joints starts to break down and wear away. Eventually the bones begin to rub against each other, causing pain and inflammation.

Research indicates that as many as 30 million adults in the United States have osteoarthritis, which involves only the joints. It is most common in the knees, hips, hands, spine and toes.

Learn more in our blog on Osteoarthritis: Its Causes, Symptoms and How to Manage It

Psoriatic Arthritis

Psoriatic arthritis is an autoimmune disease that involves the skin (psoriasis) and joints (arthritis). It occurs when the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks its own healthy cells – resulting in painful swelling of the tissue inside the joints, and in the overproduction of new skin cells that build up into patchy, raised areas with scaling.

More than 8 million Americans have been diagnosed with psoriasis, a skin disorder that is also an autoimmune disease. Up to 30 percent of people with psoriasis will develop psoriatic arthritis as well – usually years later. Any joint can be affected, but most common are the hands and fingers, as well as the feet and toes, knees, ankles and spine.

There are five types of psoriatic arthritis. The most common type is symmetric psoriatic arthritis, which comprises about 50 percent of cases and affects the same joints on both sides of the body. Other types are asymmetric psoriatic arthritis, distal psoriatic arthritis, spondylitis, and arthritis mutilans.

Learn more in our blog on Causes, Symptoms and Treatments for Psoriatic Arthritis

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis also is an autoimmune disorder, affecting 1.5 million people in the United States. As with psoriatic arthritis, it occurs when your body’s immune system attacks its own tissues and causes an inflammatory response that results in swelling and pain.

In the early stages of rheumatoid arthritis, symptoms usually are most noticeable in the smaller joints of the fingers, hands and feet, but can spread to the wrists, elbows, knees, ankles, shoulders and hips. In fact, symptoms often are present in multiple joints at the same time. This type of arthritis is considered symmetrical, meaning if a joint on one side of the body is affected, the other side tends to be affected as well.

Rheumatoid arthritis can also affect other parts of the body that do not involve the joints, including the skin, eyes, lungs, heart, blood vessels, nerves and kidneys.

Learn more in our blog on How to Treat and Manage Rheumatoid Arthritis

Getting the Right Care and Support

Learning you have a chronic condition like arthritis can be a shock. But with recent advancements in treatments and a greater understanding of the disease – as well as a strong support system and regular communication with the doctor – many patients can maintain a healthy and active lifestyle.

If you are experiencing the symptoms of arthritis or other joint pain and would like to consult with us, please call us at 913-319-7600 for more information or expert recommendations on treatment.


The medical information contained in the Dickson-Diveley Orthopaedics website is provided to increase your knowledge and understanding of orthopedic conditions. This information should not be interpreted as a recommendation for a specific medical or surgical treatment plan. As each patient may have specific symptoms or associated problems, the treatment regimen for a specific patient may not be the proper treatment for another.

Gaining knowledge and understanding of a particular problem or condition is the first step in any medical treatment plan. We believe the information presented on our website will be helpful for those individuals experiencing hand and wrist diseases, injuries, or other related problems. However, this information is not intended to replace the advice of your family physician. You are encouraged to consult with your physician to discuss any course of treatment presented or suggested.