Database definition

Is arthritis musculoskeletal? Definition, types and risk factors

The term “arthritis” refers to several conditions that affect the muscles, joints and bones. All forms of arthritis are musculoskeletal disorders, although some also involve the immune system.

The musculoskeletal system (MSK) is made up of bones, muscles, ligaments and tendons. They work together to allow the body to move in different ways. A layer of tissue, called cartilage, helps the bones glide smoothly over each other and protects them from damage.

All forms of arthritis are MSK conditions. Arthritis causes joint pain, swelling and stiffness. It also prevents typical movements.

This article explains the MSK conditions and the parts of the body involved in the MSK system. It will also look at different types of arthritis, the risk factors for developing it, and ways to minimize its impact.

Musculoskeletal disorders affect bones, muscles, joints and tissues.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there are over 150 MSK disorders. These can be acute, such as broken bones and sprains, chronic or lifelong conditions that affect the joints, muscles and connective tissues.

Musculoskeletal conditions cause pain as well as reduced mobility and agility. They also impair a person’s ability to function.

Here are some examples of musculoskeletal disorders:

The following structures make up the musculoskeletal system:

  • Bones: The bones provide the body structure and protect soft organs. The ends of the bones have thin layers of cartilage that prevent them from rubbing together at the joints. After an injury or over time, the cartilage can wear down or tear, leading to arthritis.
  • muscles: Skeletal muscles are voluntary muscles, which means that individuals can consciously control their actions. They are made up of thousands of strong fibers grouped together.
  • Tendon: Tendons are strong connective tissues that attach muscles to bones. Inflamed and irritated tendons can lead to tendonitis.
  • Ligaments: Ligaments are strong connective tissues that hold bones together. Injuries or arthritis can weaken, tear or strain ligaments.
  • Sotck exchange : Bursae are small fluid-filled sacs that lubricate the joint. Bursae cushion the bones of the joint and facilitate contact between the tendons and the bones.

Arthritis is one of the most common health problems in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) state that 1 of 4 American adults suffer from arthritis. Here are some of the most common types of arthritis:

  • OA: OA is the most common type arthritis, affecting 32.5 million adults. In osteoarthritis, the cartilage that protects the ends of the bones wears away. The bone reacts by growing bone spurs or wearing away.
  • AR: RA affects approximately 1.5 million adults in the United States and its prevalence is increasing. RA is a autoimmune disease where a person’s immune system attacks healthy cells, causing painful swelling and inflammation.
  • Psoriatic arthritis (PsA). PSA is rare in the general population, but more common in people with psoriasis. Psoriasis affects 7.4 million adults and 6-41% also develop PSA. People with more severe psoriasis are more likely to develop PSA.
  • Drop: Gout affects approximately 8.3 million people in the United States. Gout develops from metabolic imbalances that can lead to joint inflammation. It is more common in men than in women and the risks increase with age.

Learn more about the causes and types of arthritis here.

Many factors can contribute to arthritis. A person can control some risk factors, but not others.

According to CDCrisk factors that a person cannot control include:

Risk factors that a person may be able to control include:

  • carry excess weight
  • have untreated infections
  • joint injuries
  • occupations that require repetitive strain on certain joints
  • smoking

According to the Arthritis Foundation, a person may not need to speak with a doctor about infrequent or mild joint pain. If joint symptoms last 3 or more days or if a person has several episodes of pain in a month, they should speak with a doctor.

Arthritis symptoms can come and go, but for the majority of people they stay the same or get worse over time.

A person can manage their arthritis through medication and lifestyle choices. People can learn what triggers bouts of inflammation and makes their arthritis worse. Some people may have an inflammatory reaction to certain foods, activities, or emotional states like stress.

The following advice from the American College of Rheumatology may be helpful for people with arthritis:

  • Avoid repetitive joint movements, such as frequent bending.
  • Achieve and maintain a moderate weight.
  • Daily exercise.
  • Use suitable devices to facilitate daily tasks.
  • Use pillows to support painful joints during sleep.

A person can benefit from working with a physical therapist to learn exercises that strengthen the muscles around the joints. An occupational therapist can teach techniques to minimize the impact of daily activities.

A person should have regular check-ups with a doctor to make sure they are getting the right medications and support.

Learn more about physiotherapy for arthritis pain here.

The musculoskeletal system contains bones, muscles and soft tissues such as ligaments and tendons. Arthritis is a musculoskeletal condition. The term “arthritis” encompasses various degenerative conditions that affect the joints, muscles, bones and surrounding areas.

Types of arthritis include osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, PA, and gout. Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis in the United States.

People can reduce their risk of arthritis and minimize symptoms by taking medication and making healthy lifestyle choices.

If a person suspects they have arthritis, it can be helpful to identify what is triggering their symptoms. A person should contact a doctor if they have persistent joint pain, swelling, or stiffness.