Arthritis is the inflammation of one or more joints. It is usually accompanied by pain and stiffness, as well as swelling, deformity or diminished range of motion. Bone growths or spurs may develop in affected joints. Arthritic joints may make noise when they move. Joints affected by rheumatoid arthritis tend to make a sound like crinkling cellophane, whereas osteoarthritic joints make popping, clicking noises.
Osteoarthritis, also called degenerative joint disease, involves deterioration of the cartilage protecting the ends of the bones. It is sometimes caused by injury or and inherited defect in the protein that forms cartilage. More commonly, it is a result of the wear and tear of aging, diet and lifestyle.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder. The body’s immune system inaccurately identifies the synovial membrane as foreign. Inflammation, pain and eventual destruction of cartilage follows. Damaged tissue is replaced by scar tissue and bones fuse together. During the course of the disease, symptoms include stiffness, swelling, anaemia, fatigue, fever and crippling pain.