Arthitis & Rheumatism

Arthritis– means inflammation of joint causing pain, swelling and stiffness and ultimately deformity and disability if not treated early.

There are several dozen types of arthritis but main primary arthritis are:

Osteoarthritis also called degenerative joint disease , arthritis due to wear and tear, or age related arthritis. It is the commonest form of joint disease.

Women have higher incidence of osteoarthritis than men.

  • It is 2.95 / 1000 of population for Women
  • And 1.71/ 1000 of population for men.

Rheumatoid arthritis It is not as common in India as in Western world where it affects 1% of the population . It is a disease of cold and damp countries. In India it affects 0.5% of adult population.

Gout and pseudogout

Septic arthritis; It is due to infection in the joint

Juvenile chronic arthritis

Ankylosing spondylitis

Stills disease; which affects children

Other forms of arthritis are secondary to other diseases and called secondary arthritis. Main in this group are : Psoriasis, reactive arthritis, haemachromatosis Lyme disease , inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative Colitis and Systemic Lupus erthymatosis etc.

In practice we mostly see two forms of arthritis : 1 Osteoarthritis 2. Rheumatoid arthritis.

Rheumatism means symptoms related to rheumatoid arthritis. In this patient’s own immune system affects joint lining and ultimately joint surface if not treated early and effectively.

It is much more crippling disease. It in addition to joint affects other systems of the body, therefore it adversely affects patient’s life span.
It is estimated that there are about one Crore people with this disease in India. It is three to four times more common in females.


Regarding Rheumatoid arthritis and rheumatism consult your Rheumatologist. Newer drugs introduced during last 6 years are very effective (although expensive). If appropriate treatment started early the damage to the joint can be prevented thus avoiding the need for operation .

If the disease is advanced with significant joint involvement than patient should consult Orthopaedic surgeon.

Aim of treatment

  1. Prevention
  2. Early diagnosis and medical treatment
  3. Prevention of deformity by suitable physiotherapy and Orthotic appliances.
  4. Surgical treatment, Key hole operation ( Arthroscopy),  Correction of deformity by corrective osteotomy, Hemi cap, Partial and total knee or other appropriate joint replacement.
  5. Salvage surgical procedures if appropriate.

Overall aim is to restore pain free mobility.