Encyclopedia of Pain

2007 Edition

Arthritis

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-540-29805-2_281

Definition

Arthritis is defined as inflammation of a joint, usually a synovial joint, which is characterized by specific features. Clinically, these features are often radiographic (that is, only detectable on radiograph) and include loss of bone in the joint, narrowing of the space between opposing bones in the joint, and thickening of the lining of the joint, the synovium. Histologically, features that are often present include inflammatory cell infiltrate, usually of monocytes, synovial hyperplasia and pannus formation, bone erosion and new bone formation, and in the more extreme situations, ankylosis of the joint.. The two most common forms of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative condition characterized by progressive loss of cartilage, leading to joint pain and loss of motion. Weight bearing joints, particularly the hips and knees, commonly used joints, and hands (distal and proximal interphalangeal joints), are the most commonly...

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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2007