what to know about acute arthritis (Beyond The Basics)

what to know about acute arthritis

Author: Juma S Malima,Pharm

Section editor: Dominiq Baitan,MD




Inflammation of one or more joints, causing pain and stiffness that can worsen with age.
Different types of arthritis exist, each with different causes including wear and tear, infections and underlying diseases.
Symptoms include pain, swelling, reduced range of motion and stiffness.
Medication, physiotherapy or sometimes surgery helps reduce symptoms and improve quality of life.


In rheumatoid arthritis, the body’s immune system attacks the lining of the joint capsule, a tough membrane that encloses all the joint parts. This lining (synovial membrane) becomes inflamed and swollen. The disease process can eventually destroy cartilage and bone within the joint

Arthritis - Symptoms and causes - Mayo Clinic

Is my arthritis osteo or rheumatoid ?

Osteoarthritis tends to develop gradually over several years, as the joint cartilage wears away. Eventually the bones of your joints rub against each other. In contrast, the pain and stiffness of rheumatoid arthritis can develop and worsen over several weeks or a few months.

Do a physical exam. Your doctor will check for swollen joints, tenderness, redness, warmth, or loss of motion in the joints. Use imaging tests like X-rays. These can often tell what kind of arthritis you have

Signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis may include: Tender, warm, swollen joints. Joint stiffness that is usually worse in the mornings and after inactivity. Fatigue, fever and loss of appetite.

Areas that may be affected include:

  1. Skin.
  2. Eyes.
  3. Lungs.
  4. Heart.
  5. Kidneys.
  6. Salivary glands.
  7. Nerve tissue.
  8. Bone marrow.


Rheumatoid arthritis can be one of the most painful types of arthritis; it affects joints as well as other surrounding tissues, including organs. This inflammatory, autoimmune disease attacks healthy cells by mistake, causing painful swelling in the joints, like hands, wrists and knees

Causes of Acute Arthritis


  • Advanced age (over 60)
  • Cancer and chemotherapy.
  • Chronic illness such as lung or liver disease.
  • Diabetes.
  • Having a prosthetic joint.
  • High-purine diet.
  • History of joint infection or joint surgery.
  • Injection drug use.

When To Seek Medical Help From Acute Arthritis

  • Home treatment hasn’t helped.
  • You have pain multiple joints.
  • Your joints hurt a lot.
  • Pain doesn’t go away after rest.
  • Your joints turn red or hot.
  • Pain and stiffness come on slowly.