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Arthritis and joint problems

The majority of people suffer aches and pains in their joints at some point in their lives but this does not necessarily mean they have a serious condition. Arthritis (meaning inflammation of the joint) is a condition that is diagnosed following a discussion about what types of symptoms are being experienced (usually pain, tenderness, stiffness and swelling) and an examination of a person's joints. Further tests or scans may be done to rule out other possible causes and to assess the severity of the condition.

Millions of people seek help each year for arthritis or associated conditions. It predominantly affects older people but children and adolescents can also be affected by arthritic conditions. The two most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Osteoarthritis affects the linings of the joints as a result of damage from injury or general wear and tear. Rheumatoid arthritis results from the body's immune system causing inflammation of the tissues in and around the joints. There is currently no cure for arthritis but there are many treatments that can help manage the condition. Significant problems with daily life due to arthritis may lead to a decision to have surgery, for example a knee replacement.

Research being undertaken by the Centre for Rehabilitation Research in Oxford is investigating non-drug treatments for arthritis to see whether they can maximise people's everyday function, both before or after surgery.

Read more about how we are utilising exercise or physiotherapy-based rehabilitation programmes on our research pages. Projects of particular relevance to our arthritis and joint problems theme are shown below.

Projects within this theme