Ask The Doc' Easing the Pain of Arthritis

Painful joints can make your life a misery, but there are ways to ease the discomfort:

Often wrongly associated with the elderly, arthritis is a common condition that causes
pain and inflammation in a joint. In the UK, around 10 million people have it, and it
affects all ages, including children. The two most common types of arthritis are 
osteoarthritis, with around eight million sufferers, and rheumatoid arthritis.

So what exactly is it? A joint is where two or more bones meet, says consultant
hand surgeon, Mr Sanjay Miranda. The ends of the bones are covered in a tissue
calledcartilage. Cartilage enables smooth, pain free movement due to its lubricating
properties. Arthritis occurs when the cartilage becomes thin, cracked and eventually
goes. The rate of deterioration varies from a few months to many decades, depending
on the underlying cause. The most commonly affected hand joints are the base of the thumb and joints at the end of the fingers.

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