What is Arthritis?

Arthritis is a condition that causes painful, swollen joints. This can happen as naturally as you age or in younger people who have a predisposition toward developing arthritis.

There are two major kinds of arthritis:

  • Osteoarthritis — arthritis due to joints wearing out.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis — arthritis due to your own immune system attacking your joints.

Other types of arthritis include:

  • Ankylosing spondylitis
  • Gonococcal arthritis
  • Gout
  • Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (in children)
  • Other bacterial infections (nongonococcal bacterial arthritis)
  • Psoriatic arthritis
  • Reactive arthritis (Reiter syndrome)
  • Scleroderma
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)

How is Arthritis Diagnosed?

Arthritis can be diagnosed by:

  • Learning about your history of swollen joints
  • Physical examination the joints
  • X-rays of the affected joints
  • Blood tests

How is Arthritis Treated?

Arthritis is treated with oral medicines and exercise designed to help keep the joints moving without injury.

Contact Us

If you have swollen or painful joints, contact one of our family medicine locations.

Arthritis: Additional Resources

Visit our Health Library for more information:

Contact a Family Medicine Health Center

UPMC's Department of Family Medicine has several locations throughout the city of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County.

Find a family medicine health center close to you and call us to make an appointment or find out how we can help you with your primary care needs.

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For help in finding a doctor or health service that suits your needs, call the UPMC Referral Service at 412-647-UPMC (8762) or 1-800-533-UPMC (8762). Select option 1.

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Medical information made available on is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely entirely on this information for your health care needs. Ask your own doctor or health care provider any specific medical questions that you have. Further, is not a tool to be used in the case of an emergency. If an emergency arises, you should seek appropriate emergency medical services.

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