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Arthritis is a common disease that causes joint pain, stiffness, immobility, and swelling. Arthritis is actually a term for a group of over 100 diseases that affect the muscle and skeletal system, particularly the joints. Arthritis alters the cartilage in joints. Cartilage is a very tough, shock absorbing material that covers the ends of many of our bones. The cartilage forms a smooth surface and allows the bones in our joints to glide easily during motion. Arthritis can cause the cartilage to wear away. Loss of the protective lining can cause painful bone on bone rubbing. Arthritis can be quite painful and disabling. While this may be tolerated with medications, therapy, other modalities, and lifestyle adjustments, there may come a time when surgical treatment is necessary.

Bones are the hardest tissues in our body. They support our body structure and meet to form joints. Cartilage covers the ends of many of our bones and forms a smooth surface for our bones to glide on during motion. A membrane called synovium lines the joint. The synovium secretes a thick liquid called synovial fluid. The synovial fluid acts as a cushion and lubricant between the joints. It reduces friction between the bones and prevents “wear and tear.”
Ligaments are strong tissues that connect our bones together and provide stability. Our ligaments are also lined with synovium. The synovial fluid allows the ligaments to glide easily during movement. Tendons are strong fibers that attach our muscles to our bones. The tendons and muscles power the joint and enable us to move.
There are over 100 different types of arthritis. Arthritis can occur for many reasons, including aging, “wear and tear,” autoimmune disease, trauma, and inflammatory disease. Arthritis usually affects the bones and the joints; however, it can affect other parts of the body, such as muscles, ligaments, tendons, and some internal organs. Two of the more common types of arthritis, Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis are discussed below.
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis, affecting some 21 million Americans alone. It causes the cartilage covering the end of the bones to gradually wear away, resulting in painful bone on bone rubbing. Abnormal bone growths, called spurs or osteophytes can grow in the joint. The bone spurs add to the pain and swelling, while disrupting movement. All of the joints may be affected by Osteoarthritis.
Osteoarthritis is often more painful in the weight bearing joints, including the spine, hip, and knee. It tends to develop as people grow older. Osteoarthritis can occur in young people as the result of an injury or from overuse of a joint during sports or work.
Rheumatoid Arthritis is one of the most serious and disabling types of arthritis. It is a long-lasting autoimmune disease that causes the synovium to become inflamed and painful. It also causes joint swelling and deterioration. Pain, stiffness, and swelling are usually ongoing symptoms, even during rest.
Rheumatoid Arthritis most commonly occurs in the hand and foot joints. It can also develop in the larger joints, including the hip, knees, and elbows. Many joints may be involved at the same time. Further, tissues surrounding the joint may also be affected. Rheumatoid Arthritis can affect people of all ages, but most frequently occurs in women and those over the age of 30.
Wrinkles can range from fine lines to deep grooves. Skin may sag or droop causing jowls and heavy eyelids. Hair loss or unwanted hair may develop over time. Your skin’s texture may change. Your skin may become dry and rough. You may have “age spots,” transparent skin, red capillaries, and skin lesions.
You should receive yearly mole and skin checks for skin cancer as a precaution as you age.
Your doctor can evaluate your skin integrity by reviewing your medical history and carefully examining your skin. UV photography may be used to show the amount of aging below the skin’s surface.
There are a variety of treatments to help improve the appearance of aging skin. Prescription lotions and creams may help fade skin spots, build up collagen or stimulate its production to help smooth out wrinkles, and correct or reverse the sun damaged skin. Facial lines and wrinkles can be plumped up with injectable fillers made out of collagen or fat. BOTOX® is an injectable medication that is used to relax the muscle movements that contribute to wrinkles. There are a variety of cosmetic laser treatments for skin rejuvenation, vanishing spots and veins, and hair removal. Liposuction can remove unwanted fat from localized areas such as the chin or other areas on the body. There are many surgeries to “lift” the appearance of sagging skin on the face, such as facelifts or eyelifts. Further, you may combine procedures to enhance your results for younger more youthful looking skin.
The following may contribute to the appearance of aging skin:
This information is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It should not be used in place of an individual consultation or examination or replace the advice of your health care professional and should not be relied upon to determine diagnosis or course of treatment.

The iHealthSpot patient education library was written collaboratively by the iHealthSpot editorial team which includes Senior Medical Authors Dr. Mary Car-Blanchard, OTD/OTR/L and Valerie K. Clark, and the following editorial advisors: Steve Meadows, MD, Ernie F. Soto, DDS, Ronald J. Glatzer, MD, Jonathan Rosenberg, MD, Christopher M. Nolte, MD, David Applebaum, MD, Jonathan M. Tarrash, MD, and Paula Soto, RN/BSN. This content complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information. The library commenced development on September 1, 2005 with the latest update/addition on February 16, 2022. For information on iHealthSpot’s other services including medical website design, visit