This is a three part series about arthritis. The next two parts are sources of inflammation and how to treat joint degeneration.
Arthritis is a broad term encompassing over 100 different conditions that effect the joint(s). The word is broken down into “arthr” defined as “joint” and “itis” translated to “inflammation.” You might come across the word “arthrosis.” This is a more accurate term to what is occurring at the joint. The suffix “osis” is interpreted as “condition.”
The diagram above is an overall view of the progression of arthritis beginning with the health joint on the left. The light blue is the cushion part (hyaline cartilage) of the joint. It is firm, but with a very smooth surface. In addition, the surface is covered with a very greasy substance called synovial fluid. It is produced by a layer of cells inside the joint called the synovial membrane. As the joint begins to wear (degenerates), the hyaline cartilage becomes thinner and develops small “pot holes” in the surface. This produces a rough surface that further accelerates the degeneration which eventually leads to bone on bone.
Inflammation is the kingpin as to what is producing the pain at the joint. How that inflammation gets to the joint is the difference. Situations that produce inflammation outside the joint and work inward would be injuries effecting the ligament, tendon, bone or muscle. If not treated and healed properly, it can lead to long term stress and cause the joint to wear out early.
As the inside of the joint begins to wear down, inflammation now becomes generated from within the joint. Whether generated from the outside or the inside of the joint, inflammation will produce pain.