The word ‘arthritis’ simply means ‘joint derangement’. This specifies that the problem is in the joint itself – as opposed to the surrounding structures, such as the muscles or tendons. However, the word ‘arthritis’ does not determine the cause of the joint troubles nor the plan for treatment. The first step in evaluating an individual with arthritis is to determine if it is an inflammatory autoimmune cause of arthritis (such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, etc) or osteoarthritis. This can be established through history, examination, xrays, and laboratory testing.
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