There is no one causes for arthritis; the cause depends on the type or form of arthritis.
Arthritis is an inflammation of the joints. It can affect one joint or multiple joints. There are more than 100 different types of arthritis, with different causes and treatment methods. Two of the most common types are osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
Potential causes for arthritis may include:
- Injury – leading to degenerative arthritis
- Abnormal metabolism – leading to gout and pseudogout
- Inheritance – such as in osteoarthritis
- Infections – such as in the arthritis of Lyme disease
- Overactive immune system – such as RA and SLE.
For many arthritis conditions, there is a strong element of chance involved as to what is the main cause. However, for most types of arthritis, the cause is a combination of many factors working together.
A person may naturally be more susceptible to certain conditions due to genetic makeup. If more susceptible, external factors such as previous injury, infection, smoking and physically demanding occupations could play a part.
Osteoarthritis is caused by a reduction in the normal amount of cartilage tissue through wear and tear throughout life.
There are some foods that appear to exacerbate arthritis, although diet or food sensitivity or intolerance is unlikely to cause arthritis.
Cartilage is a flexible, connective tissue in joints that absorb the pressure and shock created from movement like running and walking. It also protects the joints and allows for smooth movement.
Some types of arthritis are caused by a reduction in the normal amount of cartilage tissue through wear and tear throughout life, such as osteoarthritis.
RA, on the other hand, occurs when the body’s immune system attacks the tissues of the body.