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There are more than 100 kinds of arthritis, with many different possible causes. In a 2009 CDC survey of 30,000 U.S. adults, 22% reported having been diagnosed with some form of arthritis. The survey also showed that arthritis was more common in overweight people. Eight percent reported some sort of limitation in movement because of arthritis.

In general, arthritis usually involves pain, swelling, and stiffness in the joints. The following guide is about the most common form of arthritis, osteoarthritis. People with this type lose cartilage, the tissue that protects the joints.

The steps below will supplement the information from your doctor and help you manage this challenging condition.

I. The Basics
Step 1: What is osteoarthritis?
Step 2: Symptoms
Step 3: Causes
Step 4: How osteoarthritis is diagnosed
II. Treating Osteoarthritis
Step 5: Overview of arthritis treatment
Step 6: Heat and cold therapy
Step 7: Pain medication
Step 8: Other options
Step 9: Unproven remedies
III. Managing Osteoarthritis
Step 10: Weight control and exercise
Step 11: Living with osteoarthritis

Learn More

Drug treatment - Cox-2 inhibitors

Drug treatment - injectible corticosteroids

Drug treatment - injectable hyaluronic acid


Rheumatoid arthritis

Helpful Handouts

Personal journal


Vardeny O, Solomon SD. Cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitors, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and cardiovascular risk. Cardiolo Clin. 2008 November 1;26:589-601.

Scheiman JM. Balancing risks and benefits of cyclooxygensase-2 selective nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Gastroenterol Clin North Am. 2009 June 1;38(2):305-14.

Viscosupplementation. In: DeLee JC, Drez D Jr, Miller MD, eds. DeLee and Drez's Orthopaedic Sports Medicine. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2009:chap 23.

Lane N, Schnitzer T. Osteoarthritis. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 27.

Keith MP. Updates in the management of gout. AM J Med. 2007 March 1;120(3):221-4.

Treatment of Gout. In: Bope ET, Kellerman RD, eds. Conn's Current Therapy 2013. 1st ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2013.

O'Dell JR. Rheumatoid arthritis. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 272.

Singh JA, et al. 2012 update of the 2008 American College of Rheumatology recommendations for the use of disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs and biologic agents in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. Arthritis Care & Research. May 2012;64(5):625-639.


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Review Date: 12/12/2012
Reviewed By: Ariel D. Teitel, MD, MBA, Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of Rheumatology, NYU Langone Medical Center. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
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