Arthritis is a general term that technically means inflammation of the joint(s), but the terminology is somewhat misleading because arthritis also refers broadly to a wide range of joint-related conditions—not all of which involve inflammation per se. Joints have six major components: (1) cartilage, (2) synovial membrane, (3) bursa, (4) muscle, (5) tendon, and (6) ligament. Problems with the functioning of any of these joint components may be described as ‘arthritis.’ This entry examines the epidemiology, clinical management, and social and cultural impact of arthritis, focusing in particular on osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.

Epidemiology and Clinical Manifestations

The term arthritis covers more than 100 different medical conditions, and approximately one third of the population in the United States is affected by arthritis, which is ...
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